BBC Scotland political editor to stand down after 35 years at broadcaster

Brian Taylor, who has been in his present role since 1991, will leave at the end of next month.

BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor is to retire next month after a 35-year career with the corporation.

The broadcaster announced Mr Taylor, who has held the post of political editor since 1991, will leave at the end of October.

Gary Smith, BBC Scotland’s head of news, described Mr Taylor as being “something of an institution”, adding his departure will be a “huge loss”.

Mr Smith said: “As BBC Scotland’s political editor for nearly 30 years, Brian has become something of an institution, with his insights, analysis and colourful turn of phrase.

“He is an honorary professor, an author, a lover of literature, theatre and golf, and – it’s been rumoured – a bit of a fan of Dundee United.  A 21st century Renaissance man.

“He will be a huge loss to us and I personally will miss his wisdom and wit.”

With Mr Taylor insisting he is “not stepping aside entirely” Mr Smith added: “I’m sure we’ve not seen or heard the last of him on our airwaves.”

Mr Taylor joined the the BBC in 1985 and, after a spell co-presenting the political programme Left, Right and Centre, was appointed as political correspondent.

He worked in newspapers for eight years before joining the BBC, including a six-year spell as a lobby correspondent at Westminster.

Mr Taylor said: “It has been a pleasure, a privilege and, not infrequently, a source of innocent merriment to have worked as a broadcast journalist, covering politics – and particularly Scottish politics – for such a prolonged period.

“At all times, I have tried to stand on the side of the people, our varied and valued BBC audiences.

“To find stuff out – and tell folk about it. Also, to analyse that stuff and explain why it matters. Whether on telly, the wireless or online.”

Media – BBC Scotland
The broadcaster will now begin it search for a successor to Mr Taylor (Julia Hoyle/PA)

He added: “As a journalist, starting first in newspapers, I have covered every Prime Minister since Callaghan – and every First Minister since the reconvening of Scotland’s Parliament.

“It has always been my endeavour to offer robust but fair coverage and I am certain my BBC colleagues will continue to pursue those aims.

“It’s been great working alongside such talented and thoughtful individuals. But nae man can tether time nor tide. Stepping back seems right.”

He concluded: “I am not stepping aside entirely. I would hope to be able to play a role – albeit a different role – in helping chart Scotland’s future.”

As well as working at the BBC, Mr Taylor has been an honorary professor in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh and is currently an honorary professor in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Glasgow.

He has written two books on politics and co-written several others.

BBC Scotland said it will begin the recruitment process to find his successor in the coming weeks.

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