Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf prepares for his first election challenge after a UK parliamentary committee recommended a 30-day suspension for a former Scottish National Party MP who broke the rules at the peak of the Covid pandemic. -19.

He decision by the House of Commons standards committee, which on Thursday ruled that Margaret Ferrier’s actions in September 2020 amounted to “a conflict between her personal interest and the public interest,” could trigger a by-election in her constituency of Rutherglen and Hamilton West

The prospect of a vote in Ferrier’s seat, located in Scotland’s former industrial belt, will be welcomed by the Labor Party, which hopes to get up to 20 seats in Scotland in the next general elections.

Sir Keir Starmer’s party held the constituency from its creation in 2005 until Ferrier took it over in 2015. Labor regained the seat in 2017, but Ferrier was re-elected to the SNP two years later with a slim majority of 5,230.

Any by-election, which would require the support of at least 10 percent of Ferrier’s voters, will also mark an early test for Yousaf, who on Monday stressed the need for SNP unity after narrowly winning the often bitter race to succeed Nicola Sturgeon.

The House of Commons rules committee report on Ferrier, now feel independentIt comes as the privileges committee investigates whether former Prime Minister Boris Johnson misled the House of Commons in his account of rule-breaking matches in Whitehall at the peak of the pandemic.

He financial times this month reported that conservative members of the privileges committee were reluctant to recommend Johnson’s suspension for more than 10 days. Some Tory insiders have described a longer suspension, which could trigger a by-election, as the “nuclear option.”

Ferrier, who in September 2022 delivered a payment order to the community after plead guilty to “culpable and reckless conduct,” he told the standards committee that he “bitterly” regretted his actions. The order included 270 hours of unpaid work.

According to the committee, Ferrier took a test after developing symptoms of covid on September 26, 2020. On September 28, before receiving the test result, he traveled to London by public transport and learned later that day that he had tested positive for covid. On the morning of September 29, she returned to Scotland.

Regulation which came into force in England on September 28 required people to self-isolate if they tested positive for covid.

Although the committee, chaired by Labor MP Sir Chris Bryant, concluded that Ferrier had “acted selfishly in his self-interest”, its members were divided on the most appropriate sanction.

Allan Dorans, the only member of the SNP, voted with three of the four Conservative members for a nine-day suspension. Andy Carter, Conservative MP for Warrington South, voted with the majority in favor of a longer suspension.

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