Philippa Whitford
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Philippa Whitford

Philippa Whitford

Official portrait of Dr Philippa Whitford crop 2.jpg
SNP Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

20 May 2015
7 January 2020
LeaderIan Blackford
Position established
Member of Parliament
for Central Ayrshire

7 May 2015
Brian Donohoe
Majority5,304 (11.4%)
Personal details
Born (1958-12-24) 24 December 1958 (age 61)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Political partyScottish National Party
Hans Pieper (m. 1987)
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow

Philippa Whitford (born 24 December 1958) is a Scottish National Party (SNP) politician and a breast surgeon. She was first elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Central Ayrshire in May 2015 and was re-elected in 2017 and 2019.[1]

She is the SNP Health spokesperson in the House of Commons.

Early life

Whitford was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland to Elizabeth and Philip Whitford.[2] The family moved to Scotland when she was aged ten.[3] She was educated at Wood Green: St Angela's Providence Convent Secondary School in London and Douglas Academy in Milngavie, before studying at the University of Glasgow, where she graduated with medical degrees. She was the first woman in her family to gain admission to university.[3]

Surgical career

Whitford worked as a consultant breast surgeon at Crosshouse Hospital for more than 18 years.[2]

Just after the First Gulf War and during the First Palestinian Intifada at the age of thirty, Whitford served for a year and a half as a medical volunteer in a UN hospital in Gaza.[4] She spent the 2016 parliamentary recess travelling to the West Bank to operate on four women suffering from breast cancer, and visited the Gaza Strip to advise local hospitals on how to improve healthcare.[5]

Political career

Whitford joined the Scottish National Party in 2012. She became involved with the campaign preceding the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. She advocated independence as a way of protecting NHS Scotland from the same kind of "creeping privatisation agenda undermining services in England".[6] An online video of her claiming the NHS in England would be privatised within five years and in Scotland within ten went viral at this time.[7]

"In five years, England will not have an NHS and in 10 years, if we vote no, neither will we," she said.[6]

House of Commons

Whitford was selected to contest Central Ayrshire for the SNP at the 2015 general election. She polled 26,999 votes and 53.2% of the vote and defeated the incumbent Labour MP, Brian Donohoe by 13,589 votes.[8] She made her maiden speech in the House of Commons on 2 June 2015.[9]

She was a member of the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill, however left the committee on the 11 March 2019 and was replaced by Liz Saville Roberts.[10]

Personal life

Whitford has been married to Hans Pieper, a German citizen who works as a general practitioner, since 1987; the couple have a son together.[3][11]


  • Dr Philippa Whitford
  • Dr Philippa Whitford MP (2015-present)


  1. ^ "Election 2015: Ayrshire Central, Parliamentary constituency". BBC News. Retrieved 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Who's Who". 2015. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u283863. Retrieved 2019. |chapter= ignored (help)
  3. ^ a b c Brown, Annie (10 July 2014). "Independence referendum: Top surgeon becomes viral hit after making impassioned plea to vote Yes to save the NHS". Daily Record. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 2015.
  4. ^ Jefferson, Rodney (25 March 2015). "The Scottish Streets Where a U.K. Election Will Be Won or Lost". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 2015.
  5. ^ Dyke, Joe (8 April 2016). "British MP performs cancer surgery for Palestinian women". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ a b Clarke, Sandy (5 February 2015). "Consultant breast surgeon Dr Philippa Whitford is selected as SNP candidate to battle for the Central Ayrshire seat in May's General Election". Daily Record. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 2015.
  7. ^ "Scotland's new MPs". Bailiwick Express. 12 May 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  8. ^ "Election 2015: Ayrshire Central". BBC News. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  9. ^ Dr Philippa Whitford (2 June 2015). "Health and Social Care". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Commons. col. 477-479.
  10. ^ "New appointments this week in UK politics, the civil service and public affairs". PoliticsHome. 11 March 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  11. ^ "Whitford, Dr Philippa, (born 24 Dec. 1958), MP (SNP) Central Ayrshire, since 2015". Who's Who. 2015. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.283863.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Brian Donohoe
Member of Parliament
for Central Ayrshire


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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