Kezia Dugdale’s girlfriend defends decision to appear on I’m A Celebrity
The girlfriend of former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has defended her decision to appear on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!
The former leader, who stepped down in August, joins Boris Johnson’s dad Stanley Johnson and Dennis Wise, a former footballer.
While the other contestants for the Australia-based show were announced on Tuesday, Ms Dugdale first appears on screen tonight.
She will donate her MSP salary to charity while she is in Australia filming the show which draws around 10 million viewers.
Politicians and voters have heavily criticised the move.
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.
Ms Dugdale joins boxer Amir Khan, Coronation Street’s Jennie McAlpine footballer Jamie Vardy’s wife Rebekah, The Saturdays singer Vanessa White and Hollyoaks actor Jamie Lomas.
A Scottish Labour source told the BBC that it would be a “fantastic opportunity” for her to talk about Labour policies and values.
“She puts other politicians to shame with her work ethic and I’m sure there will be huge support for her from Scottish viewers while she’s in the jungle.
“She’ll be back in time for the budget and will get straight down to work once again for the people of the Lothians,” the source added.
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”.