BBC Radio Scotland


Politics chat with the latest goings on at Holyrood and Westminster through the eyes of BBC Scotland journalists.

Available on


284 episodes

Interview: Anas Sarwar MSP

The Scottish Labour Leader on election plans, prejudice, and being called a "traitor". Sarwar sits down with Podlitical to talk about how his father's experience being the first Muslim MP initially made him want to "run a million miles away" from politics, his hopes for Labour in the next election, and why he wants to see less "playground politics" with an acceptance no one political party has all the answers. Following the Scottish Labour conference in February, Sarwar discusses the party's plans for Scotland, and why he thinks it is "dangerous" that First Minister Humza Yousaf shared The Press & Journal newspaper front page, which called Labour leadership "The Traitors" following the party's windfall tax announcement. For a range of political interviews, subscribe to Podlitical on BBC Sounds.

Feb 27
Erskine Mayday

Chaos in the House of Commons as a vote on a Gaza ceasefire motion turns into a row. Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle is facing accusations he played "party politics" by granting a vote on Labour's Gaza ceasefire motion, breaking with convention and sparking fury from SNP and Conservative MPs. He said he allowed the vote to protect MPs' safety, and later apologised, but the row continues, with the SNP's Westminster leader Stephen Flynn saying his party has no confidence in him as speaker. The team discuss why this happened, and what might happen next.

Feb 22
Interview: Patrick Harvie MSP

The Scottish Greens Co-Leader and Scottish Government minister sits down with Podlitical. Patrick Harvie talks about his early exposure to Green politics and his career so far, including why he sees compromise and finding "genuine common ground" is how democracy should work, his feelings about the Bute House Agreement with the SNP, his belief that the "moral panic" over transgender rights has become toxic in a way he "would not have believed was possible" previously, and how he's coming to terms with not being cast as Dr. Who. For a range of political interviews, subscribe to Podlitical on BBC Sounds.

Feb 13

Michael Matheson resigns as Scottish Health Secretary ahead of a report on his iPad bill. Late last year, it was revealed that the then-Health Secretary Matheson had racked up a £11k roaming bill on his parliamentary iPad, subsequently admitting that his sons had used the iPad as a data hotspot so they could watch football. The team react to the news and the Scottish government cabinet reshuffle, discussing why the resignation has come now, and if it will have the stated intended effect of avoiding the bill becoming a distraction - as this week saw difficulties for both the Conservatives in relation to Rishi Sunak's poorly received trans jibe to Labour's Starmer in PMQs, and Labour facing backlash over plans to scrap it's £28bn a year green pledge.

Feb 08
Interview: Neil Findlay

The former Scottish Labour MSP on the next election, the COVID inquiry messages, and more. Neil Findlay sits down with Podlitical to discuss how his pre-politics career influenced his socialist ideology, why he thought Labour siding with the Conservatives in the 2014 independence referendum's Better Together campaign was the "kamikaze route", how he views Scottish Independence now, and how he "dodged an atom bomb" by losing out on becoming Scottish Labour leader. Findlay shares his reaction to the expletive-laden messages referencing him between First Minister Humza Yousaf and Jason Leitch revealed in the COVID inquiry, and explains why he believes people that share his beliefs are being pushed out of all political parties. For a range of political interviews, subscribe to Podlitical on BBC Sounds.

Feb 06
Gold Command?

Former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon appears at the UK COVID-19 Inquiry. As the Scottish portion of the inquiry into the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic by UK Governments comes to close, this week we heard from ex-First Minister Sturgeon and former Deputy FM John Swinney, with the former denying that she presided over a culture of secrecy and that she politicised the pandemic. The team sits down to discuss what happened this week and the potential political impacts.

Feb 01
Not Normal Times

First Minister Humza Yousaf appears at the COVID Inquiry. The team sit down to discuss the week's big political news, which saw Humza Yousaf, who was both Scottish Justice and then Health Secretary during the Covid-19 pandemic, answering the questions of the UK COVID inquiry as it continues in Scotland. WhatsApp messages and their deletion played a large part of both the questioning and First Minister's Questions, with an additional expletive-laden message between former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and aide Liz Lloyd, regarding then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson, causing a stir.

Jan 25
Interview: Jackson Carlaw MSP

The former leader of the Scottish Conservatives on Israel & Gaza, the pandemic, and more. The MSP for Eastwood, Jackson Carlaw sits down with Podlitical to discuss his career, from representing Scotland's largest Jewish community and his thoughts on the Israel / Gaza conflict, to why he felt he wasn't ruthless enough to be Scottish Conservative leader. Carlaw talks about his unwillingness to be seen as "screaming abuse" at then-First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in FMQs during the early days of the Covid-19 Pandemic, why then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson had the "wrong skillset" for the pandemic, and how the public are not "terribly impressed" by Tory infighting and PM changes. For a range of political interviews, subscribe to Podlitical on BBC Sounds.

Jan 23
Rwanda Rebels

PM Sunak sees off a rebellion over his Rwanda Bill, and the Horizon scandal continues. Despite two senior resignations, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak managed to pass his bill to send asylum seekers to Rwanda in the Commons despite threats of rebellion, but now the legislation passes to the Lords, with the PM urging them to back the bill in a press conference. What's going to happen next, and is the Rwanda bill the vote winner the Conservative Government hopes it will be? In Holyrood, opposition parties highlight the Horizon scandal and the sub-postmasters wrongly convicted in Scotland, as First Minister Humza Yousaf seeks UK wide legislation to overturn convictions - but does the UK Government agree?

Jan 18
Interview: Pete Wishart MP

The longest currently-serving SNP MP on independence strategy and Top of the Pops. Pete Wishart joins the Podlitical team to talk about his early career as a musician and appearing on Top of The Pops, why he made the transition to politics, and his work at Westminster. Wishart discusses why he thinks there are "inherent contradictions" with the SNP's Scottish independence strategy, and that it hasn't "hit the mark", but voters can't "pick and choose" when to support independence. For a range of political interviews, subscribe to Podlitical on BBC Sounds.

Jan 17
Beyond the Horizon

The team returns to discuss the Post Office scandal and conversion therapy laws. In Westminster, Prime Minister Sunak has announced emergency legislation to ensure hundreds of wrongly convicted subpostmasters, who were prosecuted due to faulty Horizon software used by the Post Office, will have their names cleared, with Humza Yousaf's Scottish Government looking to follow suit. Also in Scotland, the government is set to seek opinions on banning the controversial practice of conversion therapy. What does this tell us about their areas of focus in the upcoming election?

Jan 11
Interview: Deputy First Minister Shona Robison

Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary Shona Robison MSP discusses the budget. Following her delivery of the Scottish budget to Holyrood on Tuesday, the Deputy First Minister sits down with the Podlitical team to talk about the "tough" budget and the "difficult" decisions that had to be made, the new tax band and council tax freeze, how she wants to keep discussions going with COSLA, and the importance of social justice and reducing child poverty. For a range of political interviews, subscribe to Podlitical on BBC Sounds.

Dec 21, 2023
Certain As Pod and Taxes

The team deep dives into the Scottish budget and the new tax rate. Following Tuesday's budget, where Scottish Finance Secretary Shona Robison announced a new 45% tax rate on earnings between £75,000 and £125,140, as well as an increase to the top rate of tax and confirmation of plans for a council tax freeze, Phil Sim sits down with BBC correspondent David Henderson and Mairi Spowage, Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, to go over the fine details of the Scottish budget, what it means for voters, and what impact it might have politically as parties consider the upcoming election.

Dec 20, 2023
Godfather Christmas

The team talk difficult decisions facing Holyrood, and the "Five Families" in the Tories. In Holyrood, the Scottish Government faces tough political choices ahead of next week's budget, and whether or not to appeal the ruling in favour of the UK Government in relation to blocking Scotland's Gender Recognition Reform bill, as well as a row with Lord David Cameron over how meetings with foreign leaders should be conducted by the Scottish cabinet following First Minister Humza Yousaf meeting with Turkish President Erdogan at COP28. In Westminster, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak saw off rumours of rebellion over his Rwanda policy, but with the so-called "Five Families" within the Tory party vying for influence, is he in clear water yet?

Dec 14, 2023
Interview: Christine Jardine MP

The Lib Dem spokesperson for Scotland and Women & Equalities on GRR, Rwanda, and more. The MP for Edinburgh West joins Podlitical to discuss the Scottish Liberal Democrat strategy at the next General Election, why she "wasn't surprised" about a court decision to uphold the UK government's block on the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, and why she thinks "divisive" policies such as the Rwanda asylum plans aren't what the electorate want.

Dec 12, 2023
Patience Worn Thin

PM Rishi Sunak faces revolt over Rwanda plans, and Scotland faces a budget black hole. In Westminster, the Prime Minister said his patience was "worn thin" on trying to pass a bill to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, telling Conservative MPs to get behind the plans after immigration minister Robert Jenrick resigned, and former Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces questions at the Covid Inquiry. In Holyrood, the Scottish Government plans to hold a special cabinet meeting ahead of the upcoming Scottish budget, where it faces a £1bn shortfall, which it blames on Chancellor Hunt's Autumn Statement announcements.

Dec 07, 2023
Interview: Andrew Bowie MP

The Conservative MP and Minister for Nuclear & Networks sits down with Podlitical. Andrew Bowie speaks about moving away from the "toxic debate" around Brexit, and discusses his government's Rwanda asylum plans including why he thinks former Home Secretary Suella Braverman should "think about the consequences" of their words. Bowie reacts to the allegations that the Sellafield nuclear site was hacked by groups linked to foreign states, which the Office for Nuclear Regulation denies, and explains why he wants to see more nuclear energy in Scotland. For a range of political interviews, subscribe to Podlitical on BBC Sounds.

Dec 05, 2023
Legacy of Lord Alistair Darling

The team share thoughts on former Labour chancellor Lord Darling, who has died aged 70. From steering the UK through the 2008 global financial crisis, to his work on the Better Together campaign during the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum, the team look back on the former Edinburgh MP's long career, and the tributes that have poured in from fellow politicians across the spectrum.

Nov 30, 2023
Interview: Stephen Flynn MP

The SNP Westminster leader and MP for Aberdeen South sits down with the Podlitical team, discussing his year in post so far, his relationship with former Westminster leader Ian Blackford, the challenges the SNP has faced over the last 12 months, and more. Flynn talks about the recent news of Scottish Health Secretary Michael Matheson's iPad bill, and the criticism he faced following Remembrance Sunday, as he also shares his thoughts on how the level of online abuse faced by politicians is "off the scale", and the difficulties of juggling his career and his family. For a range of political interviews, subscribe to Podlitical on BBC Sounds.

Nov 28, 2023
Committing News

The Matheson iPad saga continues and Chancellor Hunt delivers the Autumn Statement. The team discuss the latest developments of Scottish Health Minister Michael Matheson's £11k iPad roaming bill, with the Scottish Conservatives threatening a vote of no confidence, but not yet following through in Parliament. In Westminster, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has delivered the Autumn Statement, announcing tax cuts and more, with the fast-forwarding of his announced 2p National Insurance cut to January fuelling speculation around the timings of the next General Election.

Nov 23, 2023
Interview: Ash Regan MSP

Ash Regan, former cabinet minister and now sole Alba MSP in Holyrood, talks to Podlitical. Speaking to Phil Sim, the MSP for Edinburgh Eastern discusses the reasons she had for quitting her cabinet post in Nicola Sturgeon's government, her unsuccessful leadership bid, and why she moved to the Alba party. Regan talks about the comments made by First Minister Humza Yousaf after she left, as well as her feelings around Gender Recognition Reform, and why she thinks the SNP need to have a "serious think" about their position on independence. For a range of political interviews, subscribe to Podlitical on BBC Sounds.

Nov 16, 2023
Something Old, Something New, Something Blue

Suella Braverman is sacked, and ex-PM David Cameron returns to government. Following a row over a Times article by the then-Home Secretary Suella Braverman ahead of the Armistice Day weekend, Monday saw her sacking and the shock return of David Cameron to frontline politics. The team react to the surprising turn of events, discussing if this is the end of Prime Minister Sunak's troubles with Braverman, or if he risks splits on the right of the party. What message does the Prime Minister want to send by bringing in Cameron, and what does having the man who was Prime Minister during the Independence and Brexit referendums back in power mean for Scottish politics?

Nov 14, 2023
When In Roam

Headaches for the UK and Scottish Governments around WhatsApp, roaming iPads, and marches. In Holyrood, opposition parties claim First Minister Humza Yousaf misled parliament over government WhatsApp messages sent during the pandemic, which the FM has denied. This was followed with the news that Scottish Health Secretary Michael Matheson racked up an £11,000 roaming bill on an iPad he took to Morocco, charges he claims were caused while doing constituency work using an outdated SIM card. Meanwhile in Westminster, Number 10 disowns an article written by Home Secretary Suella Braverman accusing the police of bias around its handling of protests, ahead of the planned Pro-Palestinian march this weekend, with some Tories calling for her to be sacked by Prime Minister Sunak. The team talk through a tricky week for leaders in Holyrood and Westminster.

Nov 09, 2023
Interview: Lord Jim Wallace

The Lib Dem peer and former Deputy First Minister shares thoughts from his career. Lord Wallace talks to Lucy Whyte and Kirsten Campbell about the early days of Scottish Parliament, his conversations with First Minister Donald Dewar and Prime Minister Tony Blair, and his role as acting First Minister. Wallace shares his thoughts Brexit and Independence, as well as the UK Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition of 2010, and why he thinks political parties have a problem with offering things that aren't possible. For a range of political interviews, subscribe to Podlitical on BBC Sounds.

Nov 07, 2023
WhatsAppened This Week?

WhatsApp communications during the pandemic cause trouble in Holyrood and Westminster. As the UK Covid Inquiry continues, some of the submitted messages between Government officials paint a revealing (and sometimes expletive-laden) picture of decision making during the pandemic. Meanwhile in Holyrood, senior figures in the Scottish Government have been accused of deleting messages requested by the UK Covid inquiry. First Minister Humza Yousaf has said he has not removed any of his own messages, and The Scottish Government has said it would submit 14,000 messages to the inquiry by Monday. Political correspondent David Wallace Lockhart and Political Editor Glenn Campbell sit down and discuss what the last week of drama means for the Westminster and Scottish Governments.

Nov 02, 2023
Interview: David Linden MP

The SNP MP for Glasgow East on moving the dial on Scottish independence and more. The team quiz David Linden MP on the SNP's independence plans, why he thinks the conversation around process has been overplayed, and what he makes of the SNP's current strategy. The team ask him about Lisa Cameron's defection to the Conservatives, and why he thinks the council tax freeze announcement at the SNP conference was a "masterstroke". For a range of political interviews, subscribe to Podlitical on BBC Sounds.

Oct 31, 2023
Interview: Ian Murray MP

The team sit down with Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray MP to discuss how he sees the current relationship between Westminster and Holyrood, and what a potential future Labour government would do differently. The MP for Edinburgh South shares his thoughts on Michael Shanks' Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election win and how Anas Sarwar is doing as Scottish Labour leader, the independence movement, Labour councillors resigning over leader Keir Starmer's Israel/Gaza comments, and his stance on devolution. For a range of political interviews, subscribe to Podlitical on BBC Sounds.

Oct 27, 2023
Report Card

The team check in on how the SNP, Labour, and Tories are doing post-conference. With three of the party conferences done, and a handful of by-election results being keenly analysed, what can be said about the positions of these three parties as they gear up to fight in the next general election? A year is a long time in politics, and as both the by-elections and the unfolding crisis in Israel and Gaza show, a lot can happen in a short space of time. What are the strategies in both Holyrood and Westminster to win over voters, and what are the possible political pitfalls that await over the coming months?

Oct 26, 2023
Freeze Speech

The team discuss the SNP conference, from a council tax freeze to the FM's speech. The team talk through First Minister Humza Yousaf's announced Scottish council tax freeze and the reaction from councils, as well as the SNP's new independence strategy, and the appearance of a certain former First Minister. Following the defeat in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election and the defection of MP Lisa Cameron to the Tories, what was the mood like on the ground at the Aberdeen conference, and how are the party planning to woo Scotland's voters at the next general election?

Oct 19, 2023
Interview: Gillian Mackay MSP

The MSP on becoming an "accidental Green" and how she changed her mind on independence. Gillian Mackay of the Scottish Greens sits down with Lucy and Phil to chat about how she became a politician, what it's like navigating Holyrood as a new MSP, her thoughts on the Bute House agreement with the SNP, and how she moved from being a "No" voter to a supporter of Scottish Independence. For a range of political interviews, subscribe to Podlitical on BBC Sounds.

Oct 10, 2023