SNP MP blames Boris Johnson as she becomes eighth nationalist to abandon ship at Westminster

Would the last SNP MP to leave the House of Commons turn off the light? Dr Philippa Whitford becomes eighth to quit and joins Mhairi Black and Ian Blackford in waling away from Westminster …

By Bill Heaney

Aggression towards and contempt of SNP MPs is rife not just in Westminster but across Scotland, where it has become the norm.

Boris Johnston made it the norm and, while he himself has gone, his toxic legacy remains and only time will tell if this changes after the next election, Dr Philippa Whitford, an SNP MP claimed today.

SNP politicians are not hanging around to see this crisis develop further and are deserting the House of Commons in their droves.

Former NHS surgeon turned SNP MP has become the latest SNP politician to join the growing exodus from Westminster and has blamed Boris Johnson for her quitting.

Dr Whitford, pictured left, announced yesterday that she would be standing down at the next General Election.

Ms Whitford has been an MP since 2015 but joins a raft of her colleagues in announcing that she would be stepping down – Mhairi Black, Ian Blackford, Douglas Chapman, Stewart Hosie, John McNally, Angela Crawley and Peter Grant in leaving Westminster.

Scottish Labour is predicted to take a swathe of seats from the SNP in the central belt, but Central Ayrshire is one which is expected to stay yellow.

She said: “Working as an MP at Westminster has changed over the last 8 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.

“It has been an honour to serve as the MP for the people of Central Ayrshire for the last 8 years and to have been their choice in three elections. However, 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 in working in public service.

Ms Whitford ousted Labour incumbent Brian Donohoe in 2015 commanding a 27.7 point swing and winning more than double his votes. He had previously held the seat for a decade, with the SNP politician keeping it in 2017 and 2019.

The Scottish Tories claimed that this eighth SNP MP stepping down was a “further damning verdict on the failing leadership of Humza Yousaf and Stephen Flynn.

Scottish Conservative Chairman Craig Hoy MSP, said: “The public would be forgiven if they were struggling to keep up with the ever-increasing number of SNP MPs deciding to throw in the towel.

“The public will see through Ms Whitford and her other colleagues’ spin as in vain they desperately try to blame Westminster for their decisions to stand down.

“These MPs should look closer to home with the chaos and infighting that is engulfing the SNP. As SNP MPs continue to desert them, their party is totally distracted on tackling the real priorities of Scotland.”

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