BRIAN Taylor is stepping down as BBC Scotland’s political editor, it has been announced.

The broadcaster will retire after 35 years at the corporation.

Taylor joined the BBC in 1985 after a spell co-presenting the political programme Left, Right and Centre, and was appointed political editor in 1991.

Before then, he had worked as a newspaper journalist for eight years, including six years as a lobby correspondent at Westminster.

Taylor commented: “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.

“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.

“However, 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.’ Married with two sons, Taylor was born in Dundee in 1955 and is a former pupil of the High School of Dundee. He graduated MA with Honours in English from the University of St Andrews.

He 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.

The broadcaster has written two books on politics and co-written several more. He is the author of The Scottish Parliament, a definitive account of the road to devolution and its consequences, now republished in revised form.

Gary Smith, BBC Scotland’s Head of News 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. But I’m sure we’ve not seen or heard the last of him on our airwaves.”

The BBC said the process of recruiting Taylor’s successor as political editor will begin in the coming weeks.