GEORGE Galloway, the former MP, is launching the “largest ever crowd-funder in the history of by-elections” to raise £100,000 to enable him to stand in any forthcoming contest in Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

The prospect of a by-election has been raised after the sitting MP, Margaret Ferrier, sparked outrage in September after she travelled by train from London to Glasgow following a positive coronavirus test.

Facing widespread calls to quit, including from Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, and Ian Blackford, the SNP leader at Westminster, Ms Ferrier, who had the Nationalist whip withdrawn, has refused to stand down, describing the breach of the coronavirus rules as a “blip” and claiming “Covid makes you do things out of character”.

At present, the Westminster standards commissioner is believed to be investigating the matter.

A report is expected to be sent to the Commons Standards Committee in the New Year, which could lead to a suspension of Ms Ferrier of at least 10 sitting days. If this were to happen, then a recall petition could be launched to force a by-election.

Mr Galloway, 66, who has represented four constituencies at Westminster, including Glasgow Hillhead, which later became Glasgow Kelvin, and is leader of the Workers Party of Britain, said: “When Margaret Ferrier made the idiotic decision to become a Coronavirus super-spreader, I led from the front, starting a petition with over 10,000 signatures to date, demanding she resign.

“It is abundantly clear that the parliamentary Standards Committee should suspend Ferrier, triggering a recall petition. I could get the necessary 8,000 signatures to force a by-election in a single weekend, if not an afternoon, such is the strength of feeling in Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

“I have dedicated my life to advocating for Scotland in Parliament, spending 18 years representing neighbouring Glasgow in the House of Commons. With a proven track record in Parliament, I hope constituents agree that I will be a formidable MP for the area, putting Rutherglen and Hamilton West on the map for the right reasons,” he added.

In the event a by-election in the Scottish seat did not take place, Mr Galloway made clear all funds raised would be added to the Alliance for Unity’s 2021 Holyrood election campaign.