SCOTTISH Labour is to start selecting a candidate for the seat of Covid MP Margaret Ferrier in readiness for a byelection.

The party said it planned to to have a Westminster candidate in place “within weeks” in Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

Voters deserved better than a “lame duck” clinging to her £82,000 salary, Labour said.

Ms Ferrier won the seat in 2015 for the SNP, lost it to Labour’s Ged Killen in 2017, then won it back from him last December with a majority of 5,230.

She was suspended by the SNP earlier this month after it emerged she travelled back and forth between Glasgow and London with coronavirus, and now sits as an Independent.

She took a train south while showing symptoms, when she should have self-isolated, then took a train home after getting a positive test result, when again she should have isolated.

However, despite Nicola Sturgeon leading cross-party calls for her to resign, Mr Ferrier has refused to give up her £82,000-a-year job.

READ MORE: Met Police to take 'no further action' on Margaret Ferrier's Covid train travel

She downplayed her actions as “a blip” and blamed the virus for “acting out of character”. 

However she could face Scotland’s first recall petition if the Commons standards committee suspends her for 10 sitting days or 14 calendar days for her behaviour.

If more than 10 per cent of her constituents signed the recall petition, it would trigger a byelection in which she could stand, although her chances of success would be slim.

Labour would need a swing of less than 5% from the SNP to win.

As the seat’s previous MP, Mr Killen would ordinarily have been the frontrunner to stand for Labour in any byelection.

However since losing he has been a vocal critic of Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard, supporting a failed mutiny against him by a small group of Labour MSPs.

Scottish Labour is now planning an open selection contest, rather than drafting in Mr Killen. 

The party’s ruling executive officers have agreed the formal process for picking a candidate, including setting a timetable, will begin this week. 

Mr Leonard said: “In a matter of weeks, Labour will have a candidate ready to contest a by-election in Rutherglen and Hamilton West. 

“Margaret Ferrier has let down the people of this constituency and has forfeited her right to represent them in parliament, by flouting the laws on Covid that we all have to follow. 

READ MORE: Margaret Ferrier's former staffer launches scathing attack

“Rutherglen and Hamilton West deserves an MP whose priority is to fight to protect workers’ jobs and incomes, that are facing such a severe threat from Covid, rather than focusing on preserving a parliamentary salary and Westminster perks. 

“Labour will select a candidate who will campaign for the right to serve the people of this community and be a strong voice for them in the House of Commons, as we face an unprecedented public health and economic crisis.  

“The voters of Rutherglen and Hamilton West deserve better than a lame duck MP, who only speaks up for her own interests. 

“That’s why Labour is bringing forward its’s candidate selection process, so that we are ready to contest a by-election which local people are crying out for.”   

Although the Metropolitan Police have said they will not take action against Ms Ferrier, Police Scotland is still investigating her actions.