Margaret Ferrier should “do the right thing and resign” instead of being forced out by a recall petition to remove her as an MSP, according to the Scottish Labour leader.

MPs voted today to approve her suspension from the House of Commons for 30 days, triggering the recall petition.

Sarwar was in Rutherglen, visiting a pakora factory, with UK Shadow business and energy secretary, Jonathan Reynolds.

The Scottish Labour leader said there is enough anger in the area to bring about a by-election.

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But he said the “anger” still felt towards Ferrier for breaking the covid lockdown rules, and travelling from London to Scotland to avoid isolating in a hotel, is just the start of the process.

The recall petition will be organised by South Lanarkshire Council later this month and be open for six weeks.

At the last election in 2019, there were 80,918 people eligible to vote, so a petition would need 8091 signatures to force the by-election.

Sarwar said: “I think what the anger with Margaret Ferrier will do is deliver, I believe, the signatures in order for us having a recall petition and having a by-election.  

“And then what we are relying on, in terms of our argument in the by-election, is demonstrating to people that only Labour is now thinking about the future.  

“Only Labour is optimistic about Scotland's opportunities. Only Labour is trying to tackle the cost of living crisis and the NHS crisis, and only a Labour MP can be a champion both for Rutherglen and Hamilton West and that confident platform is one we will take to the electorate.”

The labour leader linked Ferrier’s behaviour, in flouting lockdown rules and refusing to resign, with Boris Johnson when he was Prime Minister.

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He added: “I think, as is often the case in many of these things, you can see it from Boris Johnson's behaviour, you can see it in the behaviour of Margaret Ferrier, that quite often politicians think the more you long grass it, the more you let this run for weeks and weeks, month to month, that somehow the public will forgive and the public will forget. 

“I don't get the sense the people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West are willing to forgive or forget. And I think Margaret Ferrier, ultimately, should do the right thing and resign.  

“She's not done the right thing at any stage of this process. So, I think the good people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West will have to force her resignation by signing those recall papers”. 

He added: “I don't think Boris Johnson should be anywhere near Parliament. I think Boris Johnson is a clown, a joke, the most disastrous Prime Minister we've probably ever had in this country.”

He said just because Boris Johnson is still an MP doesn’t mean Margaret Ferrier should be allowed to continue.

He added: “I think both need to go, to be frank, and I don't think either one of them is fit for public office.”