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Independent Expert Panel dismisses appeal by Margaret Ferrier MP

22 May 2023

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The Independent Expert Panel, (IEP) has today (22 May) published its decision dismissing an appeal by Margaret Ferrier MP against the recommended sanction of the House of Commons Committee on Standards following her breaches of the Code of Conduct for MPs.

The Committee concluded in a report published on 30 March that, following events in late September 2020—when Ms Ferrier failed to comply with COVID-19 restrictions and was subsequently convicted of culpable and reckless conduct—Ms Ferrier had breached the rules relating to resolving conflicts between personal interest and the public interest, and causing significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons. They recommended a sanction of suspension for 30 days.


Ms Ferrier appealed the sanction to the IEP under the rules agreed by the House in October 2022. She argued that the sanction imposed was unreasonable or disproportionate, that credible fresh evidence had become available, including that her medical condition led her to panic and make poor decisions.


An IEP sub-panel, chaired by former judge, Sir Peter Thornton KC, found no substance in Ms Ferrier’s grounds and concluded that the sanction imposed was neither unreasonable nor disproportionate. It therefore dismissed the appeal and upheld the original decision by the Committee on Standards. The sub-panel concluded that:


While Ms Ferrier was “hugely apologetic and remorseful for her conduct. The consequences for her and her family have been dire […]”


“[She] failed to conduct herself in accordance with the standards of conduct expected of individual MPs. She acted with blatant and deliberate dishonest intent. 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.”


The sub-panel’s reasons are set out in the IEP’s report on the case which is available on their website.


Read the IEP’s Report

Read the Committee on Standards Report

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