This article appears as part of the Unspun: Scottish Politics newsletter.

Before we go any further, it’s worth paying some tribute to Margaret Ferrier. She has impressive form when it comes to attendance and speaking in debates and asking questions of ministers.

When she appealed the punishment meted out by the Committee on Standards, she claimed it was “an impeccable parliamentary record”.

It’s certainly industrious.

Ferrier has – apart from the 30 working days when she was suspended – been in the chamber almost every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On the rare days when the Commons sits on Friday, she’s there too.

Out of all 650 MPs, she reportedly has the second-highest number of contributions at question time.

Between April 2022 to April 2023, she spoke 354 times and took part in around 155 times.

In the last week of this parliamentary session – which is now almost certainly her last – she contributed 18 times.

Yes, this is the job, and there is maybe an argument to be made about quantity over quality, but you cannot accuse Ferrier of not grafting.

Nevertheless, the result of the recall petition was not surprising, for three very simple reasons.

The first is postal votes.

While this was Scotland’s first recall petition, we’ve had three others since the law was passed in 2015.

Two of those have been successful, one was not.

All three however have had high returns of postal votes.

In Peterborough, where the threshold for the recall petition was 6,967, there were 7,848 postal votes, making up roughly a quarter of all signatures.

In Brecon and Radnorshire where the threshold for postal votes was 5,303, some 3,790 of those who signed did so by post.

Even in North Antrim, where there were far fewer postal voters registered, just 3,233, there were still more than 2,000 returned.

With Rutherglen and Hamilton West being a target seat for both Labour and the SNP over the last decade there is a high number of folk in the seat registered to cast their vote by post.

According to the most recent figures from the National Records, there are 15,060 postal voters registered in the constituency, around 7,000 more than the number required to hit the 10% threshold.

These numbers meant Ferrier's recall petition was always something of a foregone conclusion.

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Secondly, in the same way that by-elections are a mix of the national and local, there are clearly national politics at play here. Support for the SNP is slipping and support for Labour is on the up.

Even the staunchest Tory who would never in a million years vote for Keir Starmer would probably like to see Humza Yousaf and the SNP lose this seat.

They might not come out for Labour candidate Michael Shanks, but they were always going to sign the petition to get rid of Ferrier.

Thirdly, is anger.

People in Rutherglen and Hamilton West are – as they are in the rest of the UK – still angry about Covid rule breakers.

Even though it’s been three years since her breach, and even though it has been overshadowed spectacularly by the disregard for the rules in No 10 and Whitehall by Boris Johnson and his officials, it doesn’t take too much effort to find constituents of Ferrier’s who are still livid.

The Herald:

Following the rules meant not spending time with loved ones, it meant missing funerals.

It was bad enough when your neighbour or your pal thought lockdown didn’t apply to them, but when it was the people in charge, the people making the rules… well, it was infuriating.

Maybe you can argue, as some have, that the rules were a bit much or that the government went too far, but that’s not the point.

The rules were the rules and most of us followed them, despite the significant sacrifice involved.

It’s also worth noting that Ferrier only really admitted her rule breach when NHS Test and Protect alerted the authorities in the Commons.

She initially tried to get away with it, and then in her statement when she was caught she said took “full responsibility”.

Despite that, she initially pleaded not guilty when charged with culpable and reckless conduct.

It was only when she appeared in Glasgow Sheriff Court at the start of the ten days set aside for trial that she changed her plea.

So, yes, people are still angry.

And it probably shouldn't be too surprising that an MP guilty of wilfully exposing her constituents “to the risk of infection, illness and death” found that a good number of them wanted her gone.

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