Kezia Dugdale reveals what she’s doing with her huge I’m A Celebrity fee
Former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has defended her decision to appear on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!
The sitting Labour MSP, who stepped down in August, joins Boris Johnson’s dad Stanley Johnson, Amir Khan, Coronation Street’s Jennie McAlpine and The Saturdays singer Vanessa White.
Ms Dugdale first appears on screen tonight, but prior to entering the jungle she has spoken out about the controversy surrounding her appearance.
Politicians and voters have heavily criticised the move.
She will donate her MSP salary to charity while she is in Australia filming the show which draws around 10 million viewers.
However she has not clarified what will happen to the fee from ITV bosses, which Ms Dugdale admitted was not small.
She said in the film: “I appreciate that to quite a few of my constituents, this is quite a controversial move.
“I know there will be people upset about it, that will question my priorities.”
She added: “First and foremost, I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here is a huge UK-wide television programme, with an audience into the millions.
“I think it’s an amazing opportunity to talk to young people who watch this programme about politics, and – in particular – Labour values.”
The Daily Record, which employs Ms Dugdale as a columnist, quoted her as saying: “I have a record of giving money to charity. This isn’t a second job, this is three weeks out of my work.
“I’ve given my salary away and I’m going to advocate the values of my party. I’ve been very clear.”
The Sun reported that she added: “The minute I get back I am going to go straight from the airport into the parliament and vote.
“There are no major pieces of legislation that I am going to miss in the three weeks that I am here.
“I will be back in time to vote in the budget and I will face my constituents then.”
Her partner, SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth, defended her decision to appear on the show.
“The news that she was to be taking part was leaked many days before it was supposed to be known,” Gilruth told the Daily Record.
“Indeed, she’s not even in there. Yet. I know Kez was upset about the way it affected Labour’s leadership result.
“And I know she was upset by some of the hurtful things written about her. How could she not be?”
In her article defending Dugdale, Gilruth accused Labour of lacking perspective.
“The Labour party have some challenges to face politically – it would be refreshing if that ‘real change’ started with a bit of human decency,” she said.
The former leader of the Scottish Labour Party earlier this year said she was outed against her will.
Ms Dugdale said that she did not consent to left-wing magazine Fabian Review publishing the details of her private life, but they ignored her request.
The Lothian MSP says she had talked about her sexuality when asked by journalist Mary Riddell, as she did not wish to lie, but requested it be kept out of the article.
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Ms Dugdale says it was far from the first time she had been asked the question, and on all previous occasions journalists had agreed to not include the fact in their write-ups.
“It wasn’t the first time I’d been asked [by journalists] about my sexuality,” she told the Victoria Derbyshire Show.
“I would always answer honestly, and then I would say, ‘I’d prefer you didn’t use that… I don’t think it matters.’
“Up until that day, everybody had respected that, and then that one journalist had decided no, it was a story,” she said.
The Fabian Society said in a statement that the “wide-ranging and comprehensive on-the-record interview was conducted by an experienced, broadsheet journalist who followed usual journalistic practice”.