Philippa Whitford becomes eighth SNP MP not to seek re-election
Philippa Whitford has become the eighth SNP MP not to seek re-election to Westminster.
The MP for Central Ayrshire cited Boris Johnson’s “toxic legacy” as her reason for stepping down.
The former surgeon said politics had “changed” in the eight years she has spent at Westminster, especially during Johnson’s time as prime minister – a period where “aggression and contempt for SNP MPs, and indeed Scotland, became the norm”.
In her statement, she questioned whether the “toxic legacy” of Johnson’s tenure will persist after the next general election.
Whitford said: “I will not be seeking re-election at the next Westminster election. At the time of that election, I will have been an MP for nine years and, including my time as an NHS surgeon, spent 42 years working in public service.
“In particular, I look forward to spending more time with my husband, Hans, who is already retired, and I want to thank him for the unconditional support he has given me since my election.
She continued: “Working as an MP at Westminster has changed over the last eight years, especially after Boris Johnson became prime minister, and aggression and contempt towards SNP MPs, and indeed Scotland, became the norm.
“While he has gone, his toxic legacy remains and only time will tell if this changes after the next election.”
Whitford joins seven other MPs, including deputy Westminster group leader Mhairi Black and former group leader Ian Blackford who will not seek re-election at the next General Election. Angela Crawley, Douglas Chapman, Peter Grant, Stewart Hosie, and John McNally will also stand down.
Black, who announced she would step down earlier this month also cited Westminster’s “toxic environment” as her reason for stepping down, adding that it had taken a toll on her “body and mind”.
An MP since 2015, Whitford served as the party’s spokesperson for Scotland in the Commons, prior to the role she served as the spokesperson for health from 2015 to 2021.
Speaking to the BBC, SNP Westminster group leader Stephen Flynn said: “People will put their faith in the SNP.
“Yes, some of my colleagues are stepping down, but some of them have been there for decades serving the Scottish people – they are entitled to step down.
“I think everyone is aware of Mhairi Black’s struggles with the toxic nature of Westminster, she has stated the reasons she is going.
“But that should spark a wider conversation on why the youngest politician for the best part of 300 years is walking away from Westminster.”