Another scorching Sunday and on the politics programmes some were feeling the heat more than others.

Anas Sarwar may have noticed a burning in his ears just before 10am. The Scottish Labour leader was the talk not of the steamie, but the panel of commentators on Sky News’ Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips.

Phillips' "stellar lineup" started with Andrew Marr, once king of the Sunday politics shows, now a ratings hit on LBC radio and the political editor of the New Statesman. Marr was joined by columnist and broadcaster Melanie Phillips and Fraser Nelson, editor of The Spectator.

With two Scots on the panel, talk turned to Scotland and in particular to Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour leader.

“For my money, he is one of the most talented of the younger generation of Labour politicians anywhere in the UK,” said Marr. “Watch that man.”

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Earlier, Marr appeared to suggest Mr Sarwar could be in for promotion “if there was a sudden Labour leadership thing”, although not having a seat in the Commons would bar him from that.

All agreed the by-election in Rutherglen and Hamilton West was a crucial test for Labour ahead of the general election.

“Scotland is the door to Downing Street,” said Marr.

Phillips said the “political class” still wasn’t paying enough attention to Scotland.

Scotland was certainly on one party’s radar, said Marr. “I was up there in the summer and I have to say virtually the entire Labour leadership spent their summer in Scotland. They’ve noticed.”

The ears of England’s Justice Secretary, Alex Chalk, would have been burning. But as it turned out he was the minister sent out by the UK government to take the heat over the escape of a prisoner from Wandsworth jail. Anything to be said about Mr Chalk, and the state of prisons, could be said to his face.

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Terror suspect Daniel Khalife fled prison last Wednesday by hiding under a delivery truck. He was captured on Saturday in Northolt, London, while riding a bike in the sunshine.

It was, commentators agreed, no laughing matter. At the same time, the story had a touch of Carry On Escaping/Porridge, about it.

It was left to the author and comedian Stephen Fry to strike a more sombre note when he appeared on BBC1’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg. Fry, who was jailed as a teenager for stealing a credit card, knows Wandsworth through his work as a prisons volunteer.

"It's a pretty squalid place. It's crowded, it's not very happy,” he said.

Former prisons minister Rory Stewart was a guest on Phillips’ show. The MP turned successful podcaster has a book out, Politics on the Edge, so was only too glad to pitch in with his tuppenceworth.

There were escapes on his watch, he acknowledged, which made him reluctant to call for any ministerial heads to roll.

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But at the same time, the matter spoke to a wider problem with the way politics is carried on in the UK. It was “completely mad” that he became prisons minister without ever having spoken to a probation officer, for example.

“You couldn’t run a fish and chip shop the way the British government is run,” was Stewart’s withering assessment.

Marr recalled that when Shirley Williams was appointed prisons minister by Harold Wilson in 1966 she insisted on going undercover in Holloway to see for herself what conditions were like.

With a cover story that she had been convicted for soliciting, Williams went through the same induction as the other prisoners. She was shocked by the squalor of the place.

“That’s the kind of prisons minister you need,” said Marr.

(In a previous Twitter exchange with Marr on the subject, Stewart said he tried “repeatedly” to do the same as Williams but was not allowed.) Marr’s appearance comes a week after a row about the viewing figures for his successor’s programme. According to newspaper reports, The Andrew Marr Show on BBC1 averaged 1.9 million viewers a week, When Kuenssberg took over the tally dropped to an initial 1.5 million, then 1.2 million.

The BBC said the comparison was unfair because Kuenssberg’s total would increase once iPlayer and mobile/tablet viewings were added.

The presenter herself tweeted a link to the show “because I know LOTS of you lovely people watch on @bbciplayer”, and described her line-up as “unbeatable”.

Carry on like this and it cannot be long before Team Kuenssberg challenges Team Phillips and Team Marr to an Anchorman-style news crew face-off.

Meanwhile, Kuenssberg used host's privilege to puff her new three-part documentary, starting Monday. Laura Kuenssberg: State of Chaos, 9pm, BBC2, tonight.