STV interviewer accused of going easy on Ruth Davidson

An STV interviewer renowned for his uncompromising approach when interviewing politicians, has been accused of giving Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson an easy time.

Bernard Ponsonby was interviewing the MSP on the day she gave a speech at Glasgow University.  However the style of interview was described as “soft” by one of Ruth Davidson’s political opponents.

SNP MP Joanna Cherry tweeted: “Extraordinarily soft interview with no challenge to @RuthDavidsonMSP on the fact that her #immigration calls run absolutely directly contrary to @theresa_may toxic #immigration policies enthusiastically followed by @ScotTories MPs & …er #Brexit???”

Scores of social media users posted similar criticisms.  Ross Cunningham, who is an SNP senior comms officer, remarked: “I was pretty disappointed too. He’s usually very hard hitting and direct.”

Mike Kidd, a former broadcasting & film policy advisor asked if the interview had been conditional on easy questions being asked.  He tweeted: “Did you have to agree to give @RuthDavdsonMSP an easy time in order to get the interview @stvbernardp or was this just your own bias? Either way, it’s shameful for someone who can be guaranteed to give the FM a proper grilling. Take a lesson from C4 News in calling the Tories out.”

The mention of Channel 4 news was a reference to C4 reporter Ciaran Jenkins who earlier that day revealed his request to interview Davidson had been truned down.

The Ponsonby interview followed media reports that Davidson had ‘challenged’ her party’s immigration stance and was calling for more immigration to Scotland.  However during her interview the Scottish Conservative leader made several claims which appeared to be false or contradicted prior statements she had made.

On immigration, which Davidson claimed she wants to increase, the MSP had previously stated she was not hung up on numbers and that current numbers were “just about right”.


On Davidson’s claim that Scotland was the highest taxed part of the UK, the official figures show that three quarters of Scots will either continue not to pay any income tax or will receive a modest tax break of up to £20 a year.

On NHS funding, Davidson indicated to the STV interviewer she wanted to increase funding through targeted income tax rises.

In February this year Davidson opposed SNP plans to increase income tax marginally to help pay for public services such as the Scottish NHS.  During the Scottish budget deliberations Davidson’s MSPs proposed a freeze on income tax which would have cost the Scottish NHS an estimated £500m.

The Ponsonby interview [watch in full here] was the second in recent days that had failed to seriously press the Scottish Conservative leader on her claims.  Eight days previously she had appeared on the BBC where an even softer approach was taken by the BBC’s Political Editor, Laura Kuenssberg.


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17 thoughts on “STV interviewer accused of going easy on Ruth Davidson

  1. john

    So now we know in print what we have known all along , Davidson only gives interviews to anyone that will give her an easy time . This is a timid ,scared Politian , unless she absolutely knows the script and has her answers rehearsed she runs away . Would we want her as a First Minister , absolutely not , she hasn’t got the gumption or the honesty ! .

    1. Robert Graham

      Agreed John even with the well rehearsed answers she still cant tell the truth and is never contradicted or questioned on previous statements that are totally at odds with previous statements and counter to her party at westminster direction of travel ,

      She knows full well just like Mundell they have no influence over what is going on but they pretend they are a different party with different values , that would only work if we all suffered from Collective Amnesia .

      This promotion of a toxic tory party in scotland as a fair and honest party fool’s only idiots and rabid british nationalists , anyone with any sense just laughs ,as for our media and Journalists they really need a spine because they are a embarrassment to their profession sold for tory gold it’s not a new phenomenon in scotland , we have been surrounded by these people for the last three hundred years , the house Jocks ready to please their english masters , anyone have the heart to tell them the english have never wanted them and they are only being used .

      1. Cubby

        Spot on Robert. Just a bunch of house Scots who think that calling themselves British means that they are on an equal footing with the English. They are not – English masters and their house Scots (dogs).
        Nothing but contempt for these people.

  2. Knawlege

    Perhaps Ponsonby past caring due to current situation at STV with the axing of staff and retraining kept journalists as multi-role VJs (Ponsonby acting as cameraman and video editor to save a buck). Maybe making a point.

  3. Franc

    Very disappointing. Seemed scripted with Ponsonby giving feed-in lines to the next answer.

    One may speculate, but after all, at the end of the day there’s night!

  4. Jockanese Wind Talker

    BritNat placemen like Bernard know once the Union has been dissolved broadcasting will have a root and branch review.

    Why he would perceive he would be employed in a free Indy Scotlands media when he openly peddles and panders to the Openly Sectarian, Racist, Islamaphobic, Dishonest Conservative and Unionist Party in Scotland is beyond me.

  5. Independent Woman

    I’m thinking of changing my on-line name to “Disgusted Glasgow Woman”. That would save me having to think up things to write about this kind of behaviour of the media. The name would say it all.

  6. Alastair Ewen

    Freudian slip in LK interview at 09.57 – “I want a government that grasps the next big questions, on artificial intelligence, on MACHINATION that’s coming…..”




    a plot or scheme.
    synonyms: scheming, schemes, plotting, plots, intrigues, conspiracies, ruses, tricks, wiles, stratagems, tactics, maneuvering

  7. Molloy Harry M

    Having given up on BBC Scotland alleged news programmes, I was absolutely appalled, by Bernards pussy footing interview. I thought he was better than that.
    What is going on with BERNARD????

  8. James double

    STV & Ponsonby u bottled it challenging none of the fariy tales Davison came out with could never take STV or this guy seriously again

  9. Ken J

    These weren’t interviews – they were fireside chats.

    Perhaps we should all start referring to them as such – and refer to the likes of Ponsonby & Kuenssberg as Chat Show Hosts. They sure as hell don’t conduct interviews.

  10. Clydebuilt

    10pm BBC Radio Scotland News . . . Reported on today’s March in Dumfries. . . . Then this,
    “today’s March follows on from last months March in Edinburgh where 35,000 marched”

  11. Cubby

    All the political programmes in Scotland are now British Nationalist chat shows.

    An affront to democracy. All involved in the media in Scotland should be ashamed of themselves- but they are not because they are all British Nationalists and lying and deceit comes naturally to them. No professional or personal integrity – being paid to rubbish your own country on behalf of another country. The lowest of the low.

  12. Bibbit

    Ponsonby was/is a Libdem. He was Libdem MP candidate for Govan in the 1988 By-Election but lost his deposit. That maybe explains his extra ‘zeal’ when interviewing the First Minister as she is a Govan MSP. He lost his deposit to the SNP’s Jim Sillars in 1988, which again might explain his extraordinary antipathy towards the SNP.

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