Margaret Ferrier to go on trial accused of travelling from Glasgow to London on train with Covid symptoms

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A Scottish MP accused of endangering the public by travelling between Glasgow and London with coronavirus symptoms is due to stand trial in August.

Margaret Ferrier, who was elected as an SNP MP but was suspended by the party after the allegations emerged, entered a plea of not guilty to a charge of culpable and reckless conduct on Thursday morning. 

The politician, who represents Rutherglen and Hamilton West and now sits in the Commons as an independent, is accused of making several journeys having been told to self-isolate between September 26 and 29, 2020.

Prosecutors state the 61-year-old booked a test for Covid 19, stating in the booking application that she had symptoms of the disease.

The charge claims she was told to self-isolate but wilfully exposed people to the risk of infection, illness and death.

She is accused of illegally travelling from Scotland to London by train with symptoms and visiting a series of locations in the Glasgow area, including a bar more than 30 miles from her home in Cambuslang. While in London she is alleged to have visited locations including the Houses of Parliament.

Ferrier – who appeared in the dock – entered a plea of not guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to the single charge.

Paul Kavanagh, defending, said: “She pleads not guilty. The trial will only take four to five days at most. Most of the evidence will be capable of agreement.”

Other locations Ferrier is accused of visiting include locations in Rutherglen such as Lifestyle Leisure centre, Sweet P Boutique and Vanilla Salon.

Ferrier also allegedly visited Grace and Flavour in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, a breakfast and brunch restaurant, as well as St Mungo’s Church, Glasgow. 

The charge states Ferrier made a taxi journey from her home, on the outskirts of Glasgow, to the city’s Central train station.

It is claimed she travelled to London Euston station and elsewhere in the English capital including the Houses of Parliament.

Ferrier is then said to have made the return journey to Glasgow from London by train.

Prosecutor Mark Allan told the court: “Due to the pandemic, the trial will not be fixed for a number of months. 

“A pre-trial hearing will be useful. There are a number of civilian witnesses with significant commitments to parliament that will require to be worked around.”

She has resisted calls to stand down as an MP, and as it stands will hold on to her £81,932 per year job until Parliament is dissolved before the next general election, which must be held by May 2024.

Sheriff Johanna Johnston QC fixed a pre-trial hearing in June as well as the trial for August 15. She was granted bail.

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