Margaret Ferrier has said she will not stand in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election triggered by her Covid rule-breaking.

A total of 11,896 voters signed Scotland’s first recall petition after the former SNP MP travelled by train at the height of pandemic in September 2020, having tested positive for the virus.

Ms Ferrier had the whip removed when her Covid rule-breaking came to light and was suspended from the House of Commons in June for 30 days, beginning the recall petition process.

In a statement to Sky News following the result, she said it had been a “difficult and taxing process” and she did not want to “prolong it further”.

“I respect the outcome of the petition,” the statement said.

READ MORE: 3 reasons why Margaret Ferrier's constituents removed her from office

“It has been the privilege of my life to serve as the member of parliament for Rutherglen and Hamilton West. I have always put my job and my constituents first, and I am disappointed that this will now come to an end.

“I decided some time ago that I would not stand in the upcoming by-election. This has been a difficult and taxing process that has now come to its conclusion and I do not wish to prolong it further.

“I would like to thank my team for their loyalty and continued dedication to supporting me in delivering for my constituents.”

The contest in her seat, near Glasgow, will be keenly fought by Labour and the SNP.

Ms Ferrier travelled from Scotland to Westminster after testing for Covid in September 2020 and went on to speak in the House of Commons while awaiting the results.

After the result confirmed she was positive for the virus, she took the train back to Scotland.

In September last year she was handed a 270-hour community payback order after admitting culpably and recklessly exposing the public “to the risk of infection, illness and death”.

The 62-year-old had previously resisted calls to resign from her seat and urged her constituents not to sign the petition.

First Minister and SNP leader Humza Yousaf has said the circumstances in Rutherglen and Hamilton West are “challenging” for his party, but it nevertheless has “solid support”.

READ MORE: Voters sack ex-SNP MP in recall petition and trigger crucial by-election

He suggested the Opposition were “taking voters for granted” and hit out at Labour’s refusal to commit to scrapping the two-child benefit cap.

The SNP candidate for the seat, councillor Katy Loudon, said she would oppose “any policy that pushes children into poverty”.

Meanwhile Labour will put forward Michael Shanks as its candidate, with Scottish Conservatives naming Glasgow councillor Thomas Kerr as their choice.

Scottish Labour deputy leader Dame Jackie Baillie said her party is confident of a victory in a by-election, saying a defeat would lead to deep “soul searching”.

She described the seat as an “important milestone” towards Labour’s aim of forming a majority government in the general election.

Speaking following the result, she said: “The people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West have made their voices heard and demanded change.

“For far too long the area has been failed – let down by two incompetent governments and left voiceless in Parliament by their rule-breaking MP.

“This cannot go on a day longer than it needs to – the SNP must call a by-election at the very first opportunity so Rutherglen and Hamilton West can get the representation it deserves as soon as possible.

“Scottish Labour’s candidate Michael Shanks is ready to hit the ground running and be the local champion his home constituency deserves.”

Scottish Conservatives deputy leader Meghan Gallacher said she is “looking forward” to campaigning with her party’s candidate.

She said: “Margaret Ferrier’s constituents have delivered a very clear verdict on her reckless and selfish actions at the height of the pandemic.

“Of course, this by-election would have happened a lot sooner if she had done the right thing and resigned as an MP straight away. Instead, she brazenly stuck it out to the bitter end, which was a total insult to her constituents who made huge sacrifices during Covid.”

She claimed only her party is focused on the “real priorities” of people in the constituency, adding: “The SNP are engulfed in chaos and continue to relentlessly pursue independence, rather than tackling issues that really matter, while Anas Sarwar’s Scottish Labour party are too weak to stand up to them on an overwhelming number of issues.”

In 2019, Ms Ferrier won the constituency with a majority of 5,230, taking 44.2% of the vote.