The Scottish National Party has selected Consultant Breast Surgeon Philippa Whitford (pictured) to contest the Central Ayrshire constituency at May’s UK Election.
Dr Whitford currently works at Crosshouse Hospital and made a major impact during the recent Independence Referendum with a devastating speech outlining the dangers to the NHS of Westminster’s privatisation agenda.
Polls suggest the SNP could be on course to record a landslide victory on May 7th, with Sky News last week reporting a poll-of-polls showing the party would take 53 of Scotland’s 59 constituencies if current support translates into votes.
Central Ayrshire is presently represented by Labour’s Brian Donohoe. However, the MP has come in for strong criticism over his large expenses claims and his right-wing positions on austerity, nuclear weapons and fracking. In the last few weeks Mr Donohoe voted with the Tory Government to impose a further £30bn of austerity cuts on the general public, and to spend £100bn on new nuclear weapons of mass destruction. The Labour man also abstained on a vote to initiate a UK-wide moratorium on the highly-controversial fracking method of producing gas.
At the last UK Election, in 2010, Brian Donohoe secured a majority of 12,000 in Central Ayrshire, which would normally make the constituency a ‘safe seat’ for Labour. However, the massive surge in support for the SNP since last September’s Independence Referendum means the party is now considered to have a realistic chance of winning seats like Central Ayrshire and the neighbouring North Ayrshire & Arran.
On her selection as the SNP candidate for the local seat, Philippa Whitford said, “During the referendum I campaigned against the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition’s privatisation of the English NHS, which is built on Labour’s policy of introducing private providers. This process, along with the creeping introduction of charges, is undermining the very nature of the NHS in England.
“While management of NHS Scotland is devolved, the funding depends on the block grant set by Westminster, so their decisions affect our Scottish NHS. This is why I decided to put myself forward for Westminster.”
Dr Whitford, who has worked as a medical volunteer in Gaza and Lebanon, says the extra powers promised by Westminster if Scots rejected independence are inadequate, noting they “do not give the Scottish Government the power to stimulate our economy or fight inequality through tackling poverty wages. The Scottish budget has already been cut by 7-percent and is earmarked to drop further by 2017. This will threaten all of our public services.”
The SNP candidate says the party’s MPs at Westminster will “fight the unjustifiable replacement of weapons of mass destruction, saving money and enabling exploration of the oil fields in the Clyde basin and west coast. This would provide work for Clyde shipbuilders, create high-quality engineering and oil-related jobs in Ayrshire, and contribute to the rejuvenation of Prestwick Airport.”
The Central Ayrshire constituency includes Irvine in North Ayrshire and Prestwick in South Ayrshire.