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The Dinwoodie Interview

BEING patronised or ignored by the likes of Health Secretary Matt Hancock is not likely to faze Dr Philippa Whitford, given that the architect of standards for breast surgery in Scotland and regular volunteer in war-torn Palestine was once told a woman could not possibly be a surgeon.

After five years at Westminster she still misses her true vocation. Having battled to establish herself in an overwhelmingly male profession she has a sharp eye for hypocrisy and misogyny in the Mother of Parliaments (irony intended), her Belfast upbringing gives her an insightful take on border issues on these islands, and her marriage to a German doctor who served Scots patients for decades makes her particularly bitter about Brexit.

When iScot arrives in Irvine to interview her at her Central Ayrshire constituency office she asks whether half an hour will suffice for the chat and, on seeing me crestfallen, says she just doesn’t want to be too late for her next meeting in Ayr Hospital. So we had a swift canter around her life, career and politics, during which she was by turn thoughtful, sparky and dismissive, often bursting into a lusty laugh as she reflected on her Belfast origins, her early struggle to be accepted as a surgeon, her rise in the independence movement and her anger that her German husband is being forced to apply to remain in the adopted homeland to which he has given so much.

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About iScot Magazine

issue 60 of the award-winning iScot Magazine featuring an exclusive interview with the SNP's Dr Philippa Whitford