Holyrood Garden Party and Political Awards 2022

Garden Party 22 GIF V4

A week may be a long time in politics, but then during the last couple of years, time itself has taken on a whole new dynamic.

A pandemic that none of us could have foreseen forced us all into a national lockdown although as we now know, it didn’t stop everyone from having a party…

But we have gradually come through the nightmare of COVID and as we rebuild our country and reunite with friends, family, and work colleagues, we are all unashamedly ready to let down our hair. So let the fun commence.

Former political adviser turned comedian Matt Forde will once again be MC for the evening, with MP4, the rock band made up of four MPs, providing some tunes… The format will be a pre-dinner drinks reception, tables for dinner, and a sprinkling of political awards and chat throughout that take a more satirical view of how politics is conducted and reported within the Scottish Parliament.

The main event will be held in a beautiful marquee in the grounds of the Botanic Gardens, the format will be a pre-dinner drinks reception, tables for dinner, and a sprinkling of political awards and chat throughout that take a more satirical view of how politics is conducted and reported within the Scottish Parliament.

The formal proceedings will be followed by the popular ‘Editor’s Club’ after-party, which will take place in the John Hope Gateway at the Botanic Garden and just a short walk (or stagger) through the gardens from the main event in the marquee and be the setting for an altogether more sublime affair with music, dancing, and ongoing chat. A time to really kick back and relax. And with DJ Stuart Cosgrove spinning the decks, it will be soul all the way.

The Holyrood Garden Party and Political Awards has already become an unmissable fixture in the Scottish political calendar for politicians, their staff, political journalists, the business community, and the public affairs sector, and as Scotland rebuilds, this is an opportunity to bring back some joy into all our lives.

Nominations closing date: Friday 17th June

Tweet of the Day

This award will be presented to the MSP who has used Twitter to best effect to be witty, to inform and even to shut down critics. The judges will be looking for eloquence, dignity, humour and grace, and all in the best possible taste.

MSP of the Year in association with Coca Cola Europacific Partners

While awards of this nature tend to always be reserved for the party leaders, there are many talented MSPs who sit squarely behind the leader and help their star shine bright, so nominations for this award should cast the net a little wider than just the usual suspects and answer, ‘who has really shone?’

Political Staffer of the Year in association with Siemens Mobility

Awarded to someone who has demonstrated a real commitment to digging that bit deeper, going the extra mile and unearthing facts, figures and human stories that assist politicians in making good policy or in simply changing one person’s life.

Wit of the Year

This award will go to the MSP that has kept us entertained throughout the year either by accident or design. Who has made the most entertaining speeches in the chamber, been the most self-deprecating, the greatest wit, or simply told the best jokes?

Backbencher of the Year in association with Stromar & Partners

It takes a certain type of MSP to be able to make their presence felt without the natural platform of a frontbench position. Who has made themselves noticed, gone against a conventional party line or simply put forward a point that forcibly cuts through a lot of party-political rhetoric?

One to Watch

The May 2021 election saw an enormous turnover in terms of the MSPs now sitting in the parliament for its sixth session. A much more diverse Chamber with new voices and a whole range of life experiences. Who has already made a mark in the debating chamber or gained a reputation in committee and is the one to watch from the 2021 intake?

Political Hero of the Year

Sometimes a cause or a campaign inspires a politician or a group of MSPs to cross party lines or to just work tirelessly to do the right thing. This award will go to an MSP who has gained respect from across the chamber for their work in championing a particular cause or for achieving a tangible result.

Flushable Motion of the Year in association with Scottish Water

Parliamentary motions are used by MSPs as a way to initiate debate or suggest a particular course of action but increasingly have become more and more obtuse vehicles to offer support or endorse a particular product. They go from congratulating a local football team to questioning a reduction in the size of a chocolate bar. This award will recognise the most absurd motions to be lodged.

The Powering Change Award in association with SSE

This award will recognise the real powerhouses of the parliament, its committees. The committees provide a crucial role in bringing expertise to bear on the legislative process and test theories, assumptions, and practice. Which committee or convenor has helped inspire change through the rigorous gathering of evidence and questioning of witnesses?

Speech of the Year in association with Drax

A good speech can silence the chamber, bring a tear to a glass eye and surprise in its ability to capture a moment in time. This award will go to the MSP who has managed to impress with their ability to articulate their views on an issue with passion, intellect and emotion.

Best Scot at Westminster in association with Chivas Brothers

Which parliamentarian has best made the case for Scottish interests at Westminster? Is there an MP that stands out for presenting Scotland in the best light, for pushing a Scottish cause and really standing up for their constituents and the nation?

Open All Hours Award in associaton with Scottish Grocers' Federation

Which MSP gets your vote for going the extra mile to help their constituents, colleagues and staff, whose door is always open and for whom the words ‘business closed’ never feature? This is a parliamentarian who can be relied upon to get a job done and whose tenacity to get a problem fixed knows no bounds.

Green Giant Award in association with Scottish Power

With the First Minister declaring a Climate Emergency and Glasgow being named as the host city for COP26, the fight against climate change raced up the political agenda during the last parliamentary session in Scotland. Which MSP has really embraced the challenge and made a difference to the environment?

Lifetime Achievement Award in association with Royal Bank of Scotland

Awarded to someone who had dedicated their life to Scottish politics and has managed to cut across party-political boundaries to demonstrate a commitment to public service, statecraft and the democratic process. Someone woven into Scotland’s political fabric. (This award will not be open to nominations.)

Rachel Watson Headshot
Rachel Watson
Scottish Parliamentary Journalists Association
Brian Taylor Headshot
Brian Taylor
Political Commentator and Herald Columnist
Political Commentator
Ken Macintosh Headshot
Ken Macintosh
Presiding Officer, 2016 - 2021
Rachael Hamilton MSP Headshot
Rachael Hamilton
Scottish Conservatives
Mark Diffley
Diffley Partnership
Michael Crow
Head of Public Affairs
Royal Bank of Scotland
Kieran Andrews
Convener of the Scottish Parliamentary Journalists Association
Sir John Curtice
Professor of Politics
University of Strathclyde
Neil Bibby
Scottish Labour
Pauline McNeill
Scottish Labour
Donald Cameron
Scottish Conservatives
Kate Forbes
Mandy Rhodes
Managing Director
Holyrood Communications
Gillian Martin
Convener of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, which has been leading on the Climate Change Bill.

Who is organising the Political Garden Party & Awards?

Holyrood magazine is running the awards.

When and where is this being held?

The Political Garden Party & Awards will be held at the Royal Botanic Gardens on the 15th September, 18.30 start.

What is the format?

The format will be a pre-dinner drinks reception and networking, tables for dinner, and a sprinkling of political awards and chat throughout that take a more satirical view of how politics is conducted and reported within the Scottish Parliament. 

Is there a dress code?

The dress code is summer cocktail.

Running Order

18:30 – Drinks reception
19:30 – Welcome from the host, Steve Richards
20:10 – Dinner served 
21:45 – Awards ceremony
22:30 – Raffle and closing remarks 
22:40 – MP4  
23:00 – Editor’s Club After Party with DJ Stuart Cosgrove
02:00 – Carriages


Matt Forde is one of the country’s most in-demand satirists, and host of Dave’s ultra-topical political comedy show Unspun with Matt Forde which recently completed a fourth series. The show was nominated for Best Entertainment Programme at the 2017 Broadcast Digital Awards.

Matt’s TV appearances include The Royal Variety Performance (ITV), Have I Got News For You (BBC One), Mock the Week (BBC Two), Russell Howard’s Good News (BBC Three) and Question Time (BBC One). In 2017, Matt presented a regular segment on The One Show commenting on the highlights of the election campaign trail.

Following nationwide tours of his previous three shows, Matt took to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017 with ‘A Show Hastily Rewritten in Light of Recent Events’ which followed the political chaos of 2017 in the light of Brexit, the snap general election and Trump. The show toured the UK and was extended into 2018. Later this year, he returns to the Fringe with his latest show; Brexit Through the Gift Shop.

Matt hosts the monthly award-winning, sell-out show, The Political Party, performing his trademark topical current affairs stand-up, followed by an extended interview with a political heavyweight. Past guests have included Tony Blair, Alistair Campbell, Nigel Farage and Michael Portillo. 

An avid sports fan, Matt has presented a number of programmes in this field including The Sports Party for talkSPORT, interviewing sporting figures alongside celebrity fans, and in 2016 hosted weekly radio show The Warm Up with Jon Richardson on the same station.

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