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The Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP admitted there was “no excuse” for her actions after she gave a four-minute speech in the House of Commons at 7.15pm on Monday during a debate on coronavirus when she should have been self-isolating. Ms Ferrier said she was tested for coronavirus on Saturday after developing symptoms but still took a train to Parliament on Monday. She said: “I apologise unreservedly for breaching COVID-19 restrictions by travelling this week when I shouldn’t have. There is no excuse for my actions.

“Despite feeling unwell, I should have self-isolated while waiting for my test result, and I deeply regret my actions.

“I take full responsibility and I would urge everyone not to make the same mistakes I have, and do all they can to help limit the spread of Covid-19.”

During the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing today, Ms Sturgeon said she was told about Ms Ferrier testing positive for coronavirus on Wednesday but was not aware she already had symptoms and had taken a test before attending Parliament.

She said: “It was not until yesterday my colleagues in the House of Commons realised the circumstances – that she’d actually taken the test before travelling to London and then travelling back having been told that she was positive.”

Ms Sturgeon added that after being informed, she was “struggling to comprehend how anybody could have acted in that way”.

She added that Ms Ferrier referred herself to the police and informed people close to her about her infection before releasing a statement on Thursday afternoon.

But this was criticised by Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross, who resigned as a Government minister after his party refused to condemn Number 10 aide Dominic Cummings following his trip to Durham with his family during lockdown while suffering coronavirus symptoms.

Mr Ross told Express.co.uk: “The SNP say they only found out about any wrongdoing on Thursday.

“That means we’re supposed to accept that the SNP found out Margaret Ferrier tested positive on Wednesday – and asked nothing.

“The public is expected to believe SNP bosses didn’t think to ask a single question, not one, about when she tested positive, where she had been or who she had been around, despite her appearance in the Commons earlier that week.

“The SNP’s timeline is full of holes and any reasonable person can see that.”

Asked about her party’s handling of the situation, Ms Sturgeon added: “I think the SNP has acted quickly, appropriately and, actually, we have not tried to protect a colleague here.

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“We’ve tried to do the right thing, given the circumstances we’re dealing with.”

Ms Sturgeon said this morning: “I’ve spoken to Margaret Ferrier and made clear my view that she should step down as an MP. “I did so with a heavy heart – she is a friend & colleague – but her actions were dangerous and indefensible.

“I have no power to force an MP to resign but I hope she will do the right thing.”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said Ms Ferrier had her party whip withdrawn over “unacceptable” actions.

He told BBC Radio Scotland: “I would say to her that her position isn’t tenable, given the circumstances that we’re in, and she has to accept her own responsibilities of what she must do.

“I can’t force that upon her, she is no longer an SNP MP.

“I’m pretty angry at what has happened, it is not acceptable.

“It’s important that it is beyond reproach that everybody, absolutely everybody, must obey the rules and we have to think about the signal that gives the public and the sacrifices that people are having to make, and it’s in the light of that that Margaret will have to do the right thing.”

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