Constitutional expert Adam Tomkins is joining The Herald as a columnist.

Tomkins is the John Millar Professor of Public Law at the University of Glasgow School of Law. A member of the Scottish Conservatives, he was an MSP for Glasgow from 2016 to 2021 when he stood down at the 2021 elections.

His column will feature in The Herald every Wednesday, starting tomorrow, in both print and exclusively online for our subscribers. 

Don't miss a word of his insight and analysis by checking out our subscription packages, starting from as little as £2 per month.

And while you're at it, Tomkins appeared on the most recent episode of The Brian Taylor Podcast, where he argued that lockdown restrictions are 'unlawful' when Scotland is 'no longer in a public health emergency'.

We caught up with Tomkins on all things Scotland, politics, and his reading habits...

What’s been the highlight of your career?


As an academic: moving to Oxford in 2000 and then getting my chair [full professorship] at Glasgow in 2003

As a politician: getting elected in 2016 and working alongside Ruth Davidson for the next few years

As a writer: getting the front cover splash in the Spectator during the week of the SNP conference in 2015

As a lawyer: every amendment I've managed to secure in legislation -- the first (as a legal adviser in the House of Lords) was about the right to vote and the most recent (as an MSP in Holyrood) was about freedom of speech

What’s your favourite part of Scotland and why?


The view on a clear day from the top of Ben Lomond; the beach at low tide at Ettrick Bay on Bute (and the view over to Arran); and Queens Park in the southside of Glasgow, which has been life-affirming for my kids and for me every day of lockdown

What was the last book you read?


I read at least five books at once all the time. Right now I'm reading The Last Enchantment by Mary Stewart; Conrad's short stories; Shakespeare's The Tempest; Tales from Ovid by Ted Hughes; and Linda Colley's new book on constitutions: The Gun, the Ship and the Pen. 

What are you writing about for The Herald?


Politics and law, the constitution, and social policy. From time to time I might try to sneak in the odd column about literature, if I can get away with it. I'll try not to write about the constitution all​ the time. 

What will be the biggest stories of 2021 and the next decade?


2021: recovery and a huge sense of "what next?!"

The 2020s: our divided society--the big question is when, as a country, we will want to come back together again (rather than remaining divided in our political tribes). When that question is answered it will be obvious how to do it but, until then, my guess is we'll be clueless on how it will be done. I think we've grown used to and become comfortable with being a divided country, and my sense is that we could be stuck that way for a while yet. 

What do you make of both the Scottish and UK government’s response to Coronavirus?


Mixed. The big differences between the two have been on comms not substance. Broadly, both governments have made the same mistakes (and I would have made them, too, had I been in office at the time). 

What will happen with indyref2 after the election?


I think I might be expected to write about this in one or two columns.....

Why should Scots sign up for a Herald subscription?


For the mix. It's one of the few places you can go to escape the tribal echo chambers.