Brian Whittle

Official portrait, 2016
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for South Scotland
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
Assumed office
6 May 2016
Personal details
Brian Ian Whittle

(1964-04-26) 26 April 1964 (age 57)
Troon, Scotland
Political partyScottish Conservative Party
Sports career
ClubAyr Seaforth
Enfield & Haringey
Medal record
Representing  Great Britain
Men's athletics
European Athletics Championships
Gold medal – first place 1986 Stuttgart 4x400 m relay
Gold medal – first place 1994 Helsinki 4x400 m relay
Representing  Scotland
Commonwealth Games
Silver medal – second place 1990 Auckland 4x400 m

Brian Ian Whittle (born 26 April 1964)[1] is a Scottish politician and former athlete, who has been a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the South Scotland region since 2016. A member of the Scottish Conservatives, he is the party's Shadow Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform.

Whittle won the gold medal in the 4 x 400 metres relay at both the 1986 European Athletics Championships and 1994 European Athletics Championships. He also competed at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

Early life

Whittle was born in 1964 growing up in the Scottish town of Troon. His father was a sprinter and ran until his late teens but other than that his family background was not overly sporty. As a boy, Brian tried a wide range of sports, enjoying many of them. He has maintained that his talent lay in his ability to train.

He was educated at Marr College, Glasgow University and Kilmarnock College.

Athletic career

At club level, Whittle ran for both Ayr Seaforth and Enfield & Haringey. His best performance in the 400 m was 45.22 at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.[2] He finished 1st in his heat, 3rd in the quarter-final, but did not progress past the semi-final. He ran 45.5 on the first leg of the 4 × 400 m relay (team – Whittle, Kriss Akabusi, Todd Bennett, Phil Brown), but for once the GB team performed below par and finished fifth in the Olympic final. Perhaps his greatest achievement, and what he is best remembered for, is the manner in which he helped Great Britain win the gold medal in the 4 x 400 metres relay at the 1986 European Championships in Stuttgart. He ran the third leg of the race with one shoe, running a personal best leg time of 45.09. As he took the baton from Kriss Akabusi, Akabusi stood on his shoe and it ripped off, leaving him to run the race without it (thereafter the press nicknamed him 'One-shoe Whittle'). The other members of the team were Roger Black and Derek Redmond, all of whom ran Personal Best times on the day.

Whittle also won a relay gold medal in the 1994 European Athletics Championships 4 × 400 metres relay team alongside David McKenzie, Roger Black, and Du'aine Ladejo. He also ran in the heats of the 4 × 400 m relay at the 1990 European Championships in Split.

He moved to 800 m after the 1988 Olympic Games, and ran in the final of the 1990 Commonwealth Games 800 m in New Zealand, where he finished fourth ahead of Sebastian Coe and Tom McKean. Whittle ran the last leg of the Commonwealth Games 4 × 400 m in 1990, anchoring the Scottish Team to a silver medal. He ran 44.7 seconds for his leg.

He also ran the 800 m in the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo. His personal best for 800 m was 1:45.47 in 1990.

Other notable performances included running 45.98 at the 1988 European Indoor Championships in Budapest winning the silver medal – a feat he repeated in 1989. He ran the last leg of the winning 4 × 400 m relay in the Europa Cup in 1989 (Gateshead), helping Great Britain to win the team title for the first time.

Whittle was an international schools' high jumper, and also competed in the 200m at the 1986 Commonwealth Games, making the semi-final.

Political career

Whittle contested the 2015 UK general election in the constituency of Kilmarnock and Loudoun for the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, coming 3rd with 12.5% of the vote.

At the 2016 elections to the Scottish Parliament, he was elected for the South Scotland region.[3]


Whittle sparked a row over the two-child cap on tax credits by claiming “there is no such thing as a rape clause”, claiming it was impossible to debate the controversial welfare reform as “the term rape clause is an invention to beat the Tories with”. The remarks were widely condemned and described as “skin-crawling” by other parties.[4]

Personal life

Whittle has three daughters.[5]


  1. ^ "Team GB".
  2. ^ "Athlete Profile".
  3. ^ "South Scotland – Scottish Parliament electoral region – Election 2016" – via
  4. ^ "Tory MSP claims 'there is no such thing as a rape clause'". The Scotsman. 18 December 2018.
  5. ^ Joan Mcfadden (14 July 2009). "Legendary athlete Brian Whittle happy to help daughter follow his example". Daily Record. Retrieved 12 February 2019.