CENTRAL Ayrshire residents will have a new MP representing them at Westminster after the next general election.

It comes as Dr Philippa Whitford has confirmed her intention not to stand in the next General Election - likely to be held some time in 2024.

In a statement to the press, Dr Whitford said: "It has been an honour to serve as the MP for the people of Central Ayrshire for the last eight 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."

The SNP politician has represented the constituency of Central Ayrshire since 2015, when she unseated Labour's Brian Donohoe.

The constituency covers Troon, Prestwick and Irvine, as well as small parts of Kilwinning, and the rural villages of Annbank, Mossblown, Tarbolton, Loans, Dundonald and Symington.

And while she says it has been a pleasure to serve the area, Dr Whitford is now looking forward to spending more time with her family as she steps away from the role.

She added: "In particular, I look forward to spending more time with my husband, Hans, who is already retired and I want to thank him for the unconditional support he has given me since my election.

"I also want to thank all those who have worked as part of my MP team over the last eight years, particularly Heather and Isabel who have been with me from the very start.

"Their dedication and determination has helped me provide assistance and resolve issues for many individuals and businesses in my constituency."

She admitted that the role has been a challenging one across her time in office - though she will certainly take away a number of positives from her time as a member of parliament.

Dr Whitford continued: "Working as an MP at Westminster has changed over the last eight 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.

"While working away from home in such a negative atmosphere is challenging, there are many rewarding aspects to the job, particularly the satisfaction of helping individual constituents or working with the many fantastic local groups who do so much to improve our communities.

"I want to thank those who are willing to put their names forward to take on the role."

And though she will not be running for re-election, Dr Whitford said she will continue to fight for what she feels is best for Scotland and its future as a nation.

The MP explained: "I am grateful to my SNP colleagues at Westminster for their camaraderie and friendship over the last eight years and, while I will be standing down from Westminster, I will not be stepping back from the party.

"Rather, I hope to get out and campaign more as it is only by reaching out to people who previously voted ‘No’ to Independence, that the case will be won.

"Independence would mean catastrophic policies such as Brexit could never again be forced on the Scottish people and it would give Scotland the opportunity to return to the EU and take her place among the international community.

"Most importantly, the Scottish Government would have the full range of powers over tax, benefits and fiscal policy which are necessary to tackle the scourge of poverty and invest in Scotland’s incredible renewable energy resources: creating a fairer, greener nation for the benefit of her people."