VOTERS in Rutherglen and Hamilton West will get the chance to oust Margaret Ferrier after MPs backed a thirty-day suspension from the Commons for the shamed politician. 

The length of the punishment automatically triggers a recall petition in the South Lanarkshire seat.

If, over the course of six weeks, 10 per cent of her constituents - around 8,000 people - sign that petition then Ms Ferrier will lose her job, sparking a by-election. 

READ MORE:  Dishonest, selfish and reckless: Panel's brutal verdict on Ferrier as appeal fails

Unusually, there was a vote on the sanction in the Commons. Normally, the punishments recommended by the Standards Committee are just nodded through.

However, some MPs objected, sparking a division.

In the end, the result was not close, with MPs voting 185 to 40 to suspend Ms Ferrier. 

It’s likely the 32 Tory MPs voting against the suspension were doing so because they fear it could set a precedent if Boris Johnson is sanctioned for misleading parliament. 

Alba's two MPs, Neale Hanvey and Kenny MacAskill also voted against the lengthy penalty. 

Of the 185 MPs voting for the suspension, 28 were Tories, and 127 were Labour. 

Just 14 of the SNP's 45 MPs voted for the suspension, the rest abstained. 

Previously, some of the party's politicians have expressed some sympathy for Ms Ferrier. 

Joanna Cherry previously claimed the way her former colleague had been treated by some in the SNP as “shameful.” 

“She is a thoroughly decent woman who made a bad mistake for which she has already paid dearly,” she tweeted. 

Allan Dorans, who sits on the Commons Standards Committee, previously backed attempts to soften Ms Ferrier's sentence, voting for her to be suspended for nine sitting days.

Had that passed it would have killed off any chance of a recall petition. 

Under the procedure - established in the wake of the expenses scandal - it can only be triggered by a suspension of at least 10 sitting days.

Ms Ferrier was seen in the Commons Chamber, accompanied by Conservative former minister Andrew Selous and SNP MP Carol Monaghan.

The Commons voting list showed 32 Conservative MPs among those who had voted to reject the suspension vote in support of Ms Ferrier.

However, on Tuesday, he voted for the full 30 day suspension.

READ MORE: Ex SNP MP Margaret Ferrier guilty of breaking Covid laws

Ms Ferrier was found guilty of culpable and reckless conduct at Glasgow Sheriff Court last August after she admitted travelling on a train in September 2020 despite knowing she had Covid. 

The MP also spoke in the House of Commons and visited a number of locations in Glasgow, including a mass in Mungo’s church and a bar in Prestwick, Ayrshire, while waiting on the results of a Covid test.

After the positive result came through, she lied to colleagues and said she had to go home to visit a sick relative. 

She was ordered to carry out 270 hours of community service after pleading guilty to wilfully exposing people “to the risk of infection, illness and death”.

The Speaker will now formally notify the Petitions Officer in South Lanarkshire, who will then start the process of organising the recall petition. It should open in ten working days, with signing stations located across the constituency.

As well as being the first recall petition in Scotland, it will also be the first electoral contest requiring Voter ID.

If the petition is successful Ms Ferrier can stand in the resulting by-election. She can also avoid the petition by resigning. 

The campaign is already well underway for Labour. 

The party's Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds was in the constituency with Anas Sarwar today. 

So far they are the only party to have selected a candidate.

READ MORE: Ruglonians could be the next voter ID guinea pigs

Speaking after the Commons vote, Michael Shanks said “This is welcome news for those of us who live here, but it is a disgrace that Margaret Ferrier has dragged this process out for so long, leaving her constituents unrepresented in Parliament.

“We’ve spoken to thousands of voters who feel let down by Margaret Ferrier’s actions - people who made sacrifices during the pandemic and rightly expected their MP to do the same.

“The people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West deserve so much better than a rule-breaking MP.

“I want to be the local champion this area deserves, and I am ready to fight for every vote and deliver the change Rutherglen and Hamilton West needs.”

SNP by-election campaign coordinator David Linden said: "There must now be a by-election, which the SNP has been calling for since Ms Ferrier's covid rule breach first came to light in 2020.

"People in Rutherglen and Hamilton West are paying an unacceptable price for the damaging policies of the Tories and pro-Brexit Labour Party, as the cost of living soars.

"The SNP is the only party offering a real alternative. We will put the cost of living, NHS and independence at the heart of our campaign - and we'll work hard for every vote to ensure the people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West can elect a strong SNP MP to stand up for them.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:  

“I welcome today’s news because it’s important that we all take responsibility for the decisions we make, especially where public safety is involved.  

“Scottish Liberal Democrats are unequivocally in favour of a recall petition and a by-election. Not only is this a chance to give Rutherglen and Hamilton West the representation it deserves, it is also a chance to send a message to the new SNP First Minister that people are sick of the divisive and out of touch politics he and his party represent.”  

Scottish Conservative MSP Graham Simpson said Ms Ferrier should do the "do the right thing and resign as a MP now."

“Instead, it looks as though she will brazenly continue taking her MP salary until the bitter end," he added.

"If the by-election ultimately takes place, the Scottish Conservatives will look forward to speaking to voters in the constituency about the real priorities facing them – such as the cost-of-living crisis, fixing our NHS and strengthening our economy, rather than the SNP’s obsessive push for another independence referendum.”

Mr Hanvey, ALBA's Westminster leader said they voted against the suspension because Ms Ferrier had "accepted multiple punishments already."

He also suggested the MP had been treated poorly by the SNP in a bid to distract from a growing row about leaked messages connected to the Scottish Government's botched handling of sexual harassment allegations against Alex Salmond.

“Each of us deserves to be dealt with fairly and equally," he said. "For reasons obvious to almost everyone this sanction far exceeds anything imposed on any member in relation to Covid.

"Even setting aside the multiple infractions from the partying PMs and their cronies, Peter Gibson MP made the same error in judgement as Margaret Ferrier, but his party stood by him.

“It appears to many that Margaret was used as a convenient prop by a first minister under pressure from leaked WhatsApp messages and thrown to the wolves.

"If this is to be the benchmark for an error in judgement then I expect the former prime minister to be judged every bit as harshly. What has been done to Margaret is disproportionate, unjust and wrong.” 

Ms Ferrier has been approached for comment.