Eilidh Whiteford

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Eilidh Whiteford
SNP Spokesperson on Work & Pensions
Assumed office
20 May 2015
Preceded by Position established
Member of Parliament
for Banff and Buchan
Assumed office
7 May 2010
Preceded by Alex Salmond
Majority 14,339 (31.4%)
Personal details
Born (1969-04-24) 24 April 1969 (age 47)[1]
Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Political party Scottish National Party
Spouse(s) Stephen Smith[2]
Occupation University Lecturer, Charity Manager
Website Constituency website

Eilidh Whiteford (born 24 April 1969) is the Scottish National Party (SNP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Banff and Buchan.

She sits on the Scottish Affairs Select Committee and is the SNP's Westminster Spokesperson for Social Justice, Work and Pensions.[3] In the 2010–15 Parliament she was the SNP's spokesperson for Fishing, Food and Rural Affairs, and International Development.


Whiteford was born in 1969 in Aberdeen and grew up in Macduff, Banffshire, where her parents still live. She attended Banff Academy and has been active in the SNP since joining her local branch in 1986 during the run-up to Alex Salmond's election in 1987. She graduated from Glasgow University with First Class Honours in English and Scottish Literature, followed by postgraduate studies in Canada and Scotland that led to a PhD in 1998. While at university, she became involved with the Federation of Student Nationalists, first as National Organiser and then as President, sitting on the SNP National Executive and acting as party spokesperson on Higher Education. In 1992, she worked in the Peterhead office for Alex Salmond.

She returned to the North East in early 1998 to work for Allan Macartney MEP. After Macartney died in August 1998, she worked for Ian Hudghton MEP until the 1999 elections, and later helped new MSP Irene McGugan establish a constituency office in the first term of the Scottish Parliament.

She became a lecturer at Glasgow University in 1999 teaching Scottish Literature and developing access routes into higher education for mature students (in Glasgow University's adult and continuing education department).

In 2001, she moved into a campaigning role in the voluntary sector as Co-ordinator of the Scottish Carers' Alliance, a network of carer, disability and children's organisations working for the rights of and to support people looking after elderly, sick or disabled relatives or friends at home.[4]

In 2003 she moved to Oxfam where she worked as a policy adviser and campaigns manager for over six years in a role that took her to many parts of the world. Closer to home, Whiteford was actively involved in the Make Poverty History campaign in 2005 and helped establish the Scottish Fair Trade Forum.[5] She also promoted development issues with members of the Scottish Parliament, and immediately after the Make Poverty History campaign, became Oxfam's Scottish Campaigns Manager.

Whiteford maintains her interests in social policy and global issues as a volunteer for several charities, and previously sat on the Boards of Turning Point Scotland,[6] and Jubilee Scotland.[7]

Member of Parliament[edit]

She made her maiden speech at 20:47 on 7 June 2010 on Constitution and Home Affairs[8] stating that "a very great deal is at stake in our constitutional arrangements. Banff and Buchan’s local economy depends heavily on agriculture, fisheries and energy and the manufacturing industries associated with them".[citation needed]

In the 2015 general election, Whiteford was re-elected as the MP for Banff and Buchan, winning 60.2% of the vote in the constituency and increasing the SNP's majority to 31.5%.[9]

Complaint against Ian Davidson[edit]

On 25 October 2011 it emerged that Clerks appointed to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee had raised concerns with the Clerk of Committees, the most senior official, alleging that Ian Davidson (Lab, Glasgow South West) had threatened to inflict "a doing" upon Whiteford, in the event that details of the committee's discussions during a private session were leaked to the media. Following the allegations Whiteford withdrew from the committee and a formal complaint was made by the SNP Parliamentary Leader, Angus Robertson, to the Speaker of the House.[10]

At the next session of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee on 26 October, Davidson made a public apology "for any offense that might have been caused" by his remarks; simultaneously denying that the remarks had been in any way threatening.[11]

However Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative committee members all stated that no threats were made.[12][13][14][15]

Gail Lythgoe, a member of staff for SNP MSP Joan MacAlpine, emailed a Women's Equality group supporting Whiteford and alleging that Davidson has a history of bullying and called on them to demonstrate against him whilst asking them not to reveal the partisan call for its instigation.[16][17] The email was leaked and Lythgoe publicly apologised for making unsubstantiated allegations, which the Labour Party alleged could be an SNP dirty tricks campaign against Davidson leading it to conduct its investigation.[18]

After an investigation, the Labour Party came to the conclusion that the allegations amounted to a "smear campaign" against Davidson due to the forthcoming investigations chaired by Davidson into the SNP's referendum proposal.[19]


  1. ^ "Eilidh Whiteford MP". BBC Democracy Live. BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  2. ^ https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/north-east/peterhead/356976/north-east-councillor-and-former-salmond-aide-collapses/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "SNP appoints key spokespeople". SNP Media Centre. 2015-05-13. Retrieved 2015-05-16. 
  4. ^ Scottish Carers' Alliance web site
  5. ^ Scottish Fair Trade Forum web site
  6. ^ Turning Point Scotland web site
  7. ^ Jubilee Scotland web site
  8. ^ Hansard, House of Commons, 7th June 2010, Col 111
  9. ^ https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/politics/westminster/general-election/573265/snp-defend-banff-buchan-seat-room-spare/
  10. ^ "SNP MP alleges Ian Davidson made 'doing' remark". bbc.co.uk. 2011-10-25. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  11. ^ "Labour MP Ian Davidson says sorry to select committee". bbc.co.uk. 2011-10-26. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  12. ^ http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics-news/2011/10/27/alex-salmond-accused-of-smear-campaign-against-labour-mp-ian-davidson-over-bullying-claims-86908-23517958/
  13. ^ "Labour MP Ian Davidson says sorry to select committee". BBC News. 26 October 2011. 
  14. ^ http://www.scotsman.com/scotland-on-sunday/uk/eilidh_whiteford_ratchets_up_ian_davidson_row_1_1938189
  15. ^ Cochrane, Alan (1 November 2011). "Bullying is a big problem. It's time the Nats stopped". The Daily Telegraph. London. 
  16. ^ http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/politics/first-minister-s-aide-linked-to-dirty-tricks-allegations-1.1132328?55374
  17. ^ "Ian Davidson row email 'went too far'". BBC News. 1 November 2011. 
  18. ^ http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/politics/first-minister-s-aide-linked-to-dirty-tricks-allegations-1.1132328?55374
  19. ^ Johnson, Simon (26 October 2011). "SNP dirty tricks row over Ian Davidson 'getting a doing' remark to female MP". The Daily Telegraph. London. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Alex Salmond
Member of Parliament for Banff and Buchan