COVID lockdown breaker Margaret Ferrier, the former SNP MP, has lost her appeal against a suspension from the House of Commons.

The decision means a by-election is a step closer if, as expected, a recall petition is launched and enough people in her Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency sign it.

Ferrier had spoken in the House of Commons and then travelled from London back to her constituency despite testing positive for Covid-19 during the lockdown in 2020.

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She was found guilty of culpable and reckless conduct and received a community payback order.

The Commons' Committee on Standards decided: “When Ms Ferrier failed to comply with Covid-19 restrictions and was subsequently convicted of culpable and reckless conduct - Ms Ferrier had breached the rules relating to resolving conflicts between personal interest and the public interest, and causing significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons."

It recommended a sanction of suspension for 30 days.

The MP appealed the suspension issued in March but today it has been rejected by the Commons Independent Expert Panel (IEP).

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Ferrier appealed the sanction to the IEP and argued that the sanction imposed was “unreasonable or disproportionate, that credible fresh evidence had become available, including that her medical condition led her to panic and make poor decisions”.

An IEP sub-panel, chaired by former judge, Sir Peter Thornton KC, found no substance in Ms Ferrier’s grounds and concluded that the sanction imposed was neither unreasonable nor disproportionate. It therefore dismissed the appeal and upheld the original decision by the Committee on Standards.

The sub-panel concluded that: “While Ms Ferrier was hugely apologetic and remorseful for her conduct, the consequences for her and her family have been dire.

“She failed to conduct herself in accordance with the standards of conduct expected of individual MPs. She acted with blatant and deliberate dishonest intent. She acted with a high degree of recklessness to the public and to colleagues and staff at the House of Commons. She acted selfishly, putting her own interests above the public interest. There could therefore be no lesser sanction for this conduct.”