Former BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor has launched our brand new political podcast with a chat with Douglas Ross. 

The first episode of The Brian Taylor Podcast went live yesterday, and features the exclusive interview with the leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

You can subscribe to the podcast at the following links:

We've taken a look back through and picked out some of the best exchanges between the pair.

Has Douglas Ross been sidelined?

Brian Taylor: "Your rivals Mr. Ross have lampooned you for Conservative local leaflets, which have Ruth Davidson's picture on the front page but not yours. Have you been sidelined as they're suggesting?"

Douglas Ross: "Absolutely not. I'm also on those leaflets and indeed since August, when I became leader and Ruth agreed to come back to frontline politics we've been on the leaflets - this is nothing new.


"But I would say, you know, why wouldn't we use any asset such as Ruth Davidson? She is one of the strongest campaigners for Scotland's place in the United Kingdom. She has been one of our most successful leaders in Scotland. And while other parties may not want to work very closely with former leaders, I'm absolutely delighted and pleased and will continue to work closely with Ruth."

'This problem was created before I was born, Brian!'

Brian Taylor: "You've announced 60,000, affordable new homes, including 40,000 in the rented sector. Now your critics would say that the right to buy council houses denuded the rented sector in the first place - it's a problem that your own party created?"

Douglas Ross: "Well, it was created long before I was even born Brian, which does age me perhaps more than anyone else. But it was our policy that got people onto the housing ladder.

"And it was one that many people supported because it gave them the opportunity to get on that housing ladder to start to own their first home and then move on. So absolutely. It's an issue that we have to tackle. And that's why we are putting forward the most ambitious social housing drive since devolution."

'Don't try that one on with me'

Brian Taylor: "Why was Jackson Carlaw ousted from the leadership? What was going wrong?"

Douglas Ross: "Well, Jackson Carlaw took the decision. It was over the summer, he reflected and he decided to step back from frontline politics."

Brian Taylor: "Come on, he was given a pretty hefty shove. For goodness sake. No. You say, I've been covering a few elections."

"Don't try that on, for goodness sake. He was given a gentle or not so gentle shove, wasn't he?

Douglas Ross: "Well, you know, you have to go back to what Jackson said at the time. And he reflected on his own time as leader and thought it was an opportunity at that stage to allow the party to elect a new leader that I'm delighted Jackson is standing for Eastwood again. He's been an excellent constituency MSP there, and I'm sure that people of Eastwood will welcome him again."

Are the Conservatives being cheapskates with nurses?

Brian Taylor: "Do you think the 1% offer by the UK Government to, for example, nurses in England, is parsimonious or to use a blunter word cheapskate?"

Douglas Ross: "So what I was gonna say how that can be used to the UK Government is we have a different system in England where the UK government put forward a proposal and then it goes to an independent panel to determine that they keep the government's view, they take the union's view, they speak to staff and they come up with the final answer in terms of the payment increase that will..."

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Brian Taylor: "They may have a different system, but they have the same arithmetic and 1%, a quarter of 4%. So we are your colleagues, south of the border of being cheapskate with the nurses."

Douglas Ross: "What the Prime Minister has already said, while putting forward 1%, he is also keen that the peer review body looks at every opportunity to increase what our nurses are getting.

"So I think we've just got to see how that independent process away from politicians ultimately comes down on this. And as I say, we've already had some differing views on the 4% offer here in Scotland as well."

Does Douglas Ross expect to be First Minister?

Brian Taylor: "Do you expect to be First Minister in May?"

Douglas Ross: "I am ever hopeful. But, you know, opinion polls would currently suggest that the people across Scotland have a different goal for me. But I am working over the next four weeks to get as much support for the Scottish conservatives because we know the threat from the SNP is real.

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"This is an election that they are framing as an opportunity to hold another independence referendum. Therefore, people have to unite behind the Scottish Conservatives as the strongest party to stop that."