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The SNP’s Westminster leader was grilled on the future of Margaret Ferrier by BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty. The Scottish MP has been facing calls for her resignation after admitting she had travelled to and from London using public transport after testing positive to COVID-19. Despite condemning Ms Ferrier’s actions and calling for her to do the “right thing” Mr Blackford failed to clearly state that she should resign.
The BBC host said: “When Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s most senior adviser, was seen to break the rules of isolation and lockdown, you called for his resignation. Why is this different?”
Mr Blackford replied: “What I have said this morning I think is pretty clear what I am saying, Margaret has to do the right thing.”
Ms Munchetty said: “She is an MP, she is electable, he is an advisor.”
The SNP MP responded: “I am asking Margaret to do the right thing, it is just a pity that Boris Johnson never did that with Dominic Cummings.”
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The BBC Breakfast presenter asked: “So you are saying she should resign?”
Mr Blackford concluded: “I think I have been quite clear in the interview, she has broken the rules and the law, she has left herself down and everyone else, I think it is pretty obvious she needs to do the right thing.”
Some viewers took to Twitter to share their disappointment at Mr Blackford’s failure to unequivocally call for Ms Ferrier’s resignation.
One Twitter user said: “@Ianblackford_MP Please get a backbone and tell Margaret to resign.”
Another tweeted: “Just watched Ian Blackford on BBC say everything but ‘she should resign’ he just didn’t say those words….i don’t know why he couldn’t just say it , it would have been stronger statement.”
A third wrote: “@Ianblackford_MP terrible interview on the BBC came across as a very upset man but sadly when asked wouldnt say the words resign, prompted many times but just couldnt bring himself to say it the words that needed saying, she should resign, poor showing @MargaretFerrier.”
Another Twitter user said: “Ian Blackford on the BBC just now. Kept saying “it’s obvious what she should do”, but refused to say what that obvious thing was. Just bizarre. At this point there is nothing to lose.”
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A fifth tweeted: “@Ianblackford_MP have you a problem saying the word resignation when referring your own party members. You did everything to avoid using the word in your interview with BBC.”
On Thursday it was revealed that Margaret Ferrier took part in a House of Commons debate on Monday while having coronavirus.
The SNP MP experienced mild symptoms on Saturday and took a COVID-19 test before travelling to Westminster instead of self-isolating.
Following her participation in Monday’s debate, Ms Ferrier received a positive result for coronavirus.
On Tuesday the SNP MP then travelled back to her home from Westminster on a train despite being aware that she had coronavirus.
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