One of Scotland’s most high-profile Covid baddies has moved one step closer to facing a by-election that would do her out of her job at Westminster – with Labour sniffing a political opportunity.

Margaret Ferrier, the once-SNP MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP, took a train home to Glasgow from London at the height of lockdown despite knowing she had tested positive for coronavirus.

Unlike second home-visiting former chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood, Scotland’s other big-league Covid rule-breaker, Ms Ferrier knew she had the virus and it’s very difficult to argue that she didn’t potentially put people at risk of infection, given the strict rules that were in place.

The MP, who has sat since 2020 as an independent politician at Westminster, has been sanctioned by the courts for the incident and now a House of Commons watchdog investigation has handed her a suspension of a whopping 30 days.

The judgement from the Commons is clear that Ms Ferrier’s behaviour was unacceptable, with her having “acted with blatant and deliberate dishonest intent”.

The utterly damning judgement added: “She acted with a high degree of recklessness to the public and to colleagues and staff at the House of Commons.

"She acted selfishly, putting her own interests above the public interest. There could therefore be no lesser sanction for this conduct."

Today’s news is that her appeal against this punishment has been rejected – opening the door for the first Scottish MP to face a recall petition.

Ms Ferrier could be removed from her job in dramatic fashion if she doesn’t agree with the latest calls to step down.

If the suspension is agreed by a vote in the House of Commons, it would automatically trigger a recall petition, which if successful would see her sacked as an MP and a by-election called for the seat.

HeraldScotland: Margaret Ferrier regained the Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat in 2019 but Scottish Labour believe they can pick the seat up again in an inevitable by-electionMargaret Ferrier regained the Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat in 2019 but Scottish Labour believe they can pick the seat up again in an inevitable by-election (Image: Newsquest)

But Ms Ferrier’s lack of regard for her actions has shone through from the moment she decided it was fine to get on a train when Covid-positive.

In her statements, Ms Ferrier, who has so far ignored calls for her to simply quit her job, has remained defiant.

In appealing her suspension, Ms Ferrier insisted that she was subject to “double jeopardy”, having been punished in the criminal courts for the offence.

She was sentenced to 270 hours of community service at Glasgow Sheriff Court after pleading guilty to a charge of culpable and reckless conduct.

We are all now assuming a by-election is inevitable.

And the SNP could really do without a test of their support at the ballot box.

Not only has support for the SNP dropped amid the probe into the party’s finances and exit of Nicola Sturgeon, but Ms Ferrier’s actions will have put the party in the bad books with some locally, even though the SNP cut ties with her immediately.

Unfortunately for Humza Yousaf’s party, mud sticks and the party appears to be all at sea over who could contest the poisoned chalice.

Reports last week suggested the First Minster had rejected a series of local candidates put forward to contest any potential by-election – but it is difficult to see the gig attracting the calibre of candidate needed to have any chance of victory.

The challenger for the seat is Scottish Labour, who have been excited about the prospect of doubling their tally of MPs north of the Border for the last few weeks.

Labour is oozing with confidence that they can overturn the SNP’s 5,000-strong majority in Rutherglen and Hamilton West that Ms Ferrier pinched off Anas Sarwar’s party in 2019.

The party has already selected modern studies teacher Michael Shanks to contest the potential vote.

Both Mr Sarwar and Jackie Baillie have already been out campaigning in the constituency, with the deputy leader warning that...

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