THE SNP will campaign for Margaret Ferrier to lose her seat if she refuses to resign, The Herald understands.  

A recall petition in the disgraced politician’s Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency looks almost certain after Parliament’s Standards Committee called for her to be suspended from the Commons for 30 days over Covid rule breaches. 

Under the Recall Act 2015, parties, organisations and individuals can campaign for or against the recall petition and are allowed to spend up to £10,000.

READ MORE: Yousaf 'looks forward' to fighting Ferrier by-election

A party source confirmed the SNP would register with the Electoral Commission for the recall petition and urge voters to sign the petition.

They said should she fail to stand down, the party will take action,

The SNP's willingness to campaign against Ms Ferrier came as one of her Westminster colleagues defended her.

Writing on Twitter on Friday morning, Ms Cherry said: “The way Margaret Ferrier has been treated by some of her former comrades is shameful. 

“She is a thoroughly decent woman who made a bad mistake for which she has already paid dearly. Prior to that she was one of the most loyal hard working activists in @theSNP.”

The MP was found guilty of culpable and reckless conduct at Glasgow Sheriff Court last August after she admitted to travelling on a train between Scotland and London, attending a debate in Westminster and taking part in a number of constituency events despite being told to self-isolate. 

In his investigation, Daniel Greenberg, the Commissioner, advised parliament's Standards Committee that Ms Ferrier had breached paragraph the MP's Code of Conduct by placing her own personal interest over the public interest and by causing “significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, and of its Members generally”.

READ MORE: Margaret Ferrier faces 30 day Commons ban

MPs will vote on a 30-day suspension when the Commons returns after the Easter recess. 

If they approve the punishment the Speaker will then notify the returning officer in South Lanarkshire council. 

They will then arrange for the petition to be open for six weeks, with signing stations opened for voters. 

When Labour MP Fiona Onasanya was sent to prison for perverting the course of justice in December 2019, five campaigners registered with the Electoral Commission, including Labour and Conservative parties, Unite and the Communications Workers Union and one private individual.

The Tories spent £3,200, the Labour Party £3,240 and Unite spent £535.41 

Similar sums were spent by the parties on the recall campaign when Tory MP Chris Davies was convicted of a false expenses claim in March.

For a recall petition to be successful 10% of eligible registered voters need to sign either in person or by post. If that threshold is reached the petition officer informs the Speaker of the House of Commons and the seat becomes vacant, sparking a by-election.

The process could be avoided if Ms Ferrier resigns.

A spokesperson for the SNP urged her to do just that.

They said: "Margaret Ferrier should do the decent thing and resign now. Humza Yousaf, our new party leader made his views and the SNP's position crystal clear on this on Thursday.” 

Speaking to journalists after FMQs, Mr Yousaf said: “We’ve said from day one that Margaret Ferrier should have stepped down because of her reckless action.

“I look forward to fighting that by-election on our strong track record.”

He went on: “We’ll take nothing for granted, we won’t be complacent.

“We’ve got strong support in Rutherglen and right across that region.

“But it will take hard work. I think the right thing for Margaret Ferrier to do would be to stand down.”

READ MORE: Neil Mackay: Ferrier by-election will reveal if left is done with SNP

Pollster Mark Diffley told The Herald that he thought a recall petition in Ms Ferrier’s seat would likely be successful. He said both the SNP and Labour would be under pressure at the resulting by-election.

“Two of the three recalls have been successful so far - North Antrim, Ian Paisley being the exception - and in the other two the sitting candidate either didn’t stand or stood and lost. So it’s not a given that it will succeed but I suspect it will.

“On the by-election itself, if there is one, it’s a test for both the SNP and Labour. 

“For the SNP it will be Yousaf’s first electoral test and he would ideally like more time to bed in and try and get the party back on course as their poll ratings have taken a knock during the leadership contest. 

“For Labour this is obviously a crucial test – it’s in their top 5 target seats in Scotland, requiring a swing of under 5% from the SNP and one they would have to win if they are to make significant inroads at the election. 

“Current national poll suggests they would be favourites to win this seat so they would be under a lot of pressure as well.”