Kezia Dugdale admits colleagues will be ‘shocked and angry’ as she enters I’m A Celebrity
Former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has entered the I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! jungle.
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.
Entering the jungle, Ms Dugdale admitted some of her political colleagues will be “shocked and angry” at her stint in the Australian jungle.
Politicians and voters have heavily criticised the move, though her MSP girlfriend, Jenny Gilruth, defended the move.
Acknowledging the uproar, she said: She said: “They will be angry because they will say I should be doing my day job and I am going to be away. I understand that anger.
“I’ve seen them be angry over similar things other people have done but I can’t help but think that it is an amazing opportunity to talk to millions of people about the Labour Party, its values and how it is different.
“I am not going to talk about politics all the time but it is who I am, what I do and I can’t help it.”
Ms Dugdale’s succesor as leader of Scottish Labour criticised her decision, saying she had been denied permission by party bosses.
However the out politician hit back at those claims, saying: “I quit as leader and so there was no obvious person to ask for permission.
“I went to the two people who were running for Scottish leader (eventual winner Richard Leonard and losing candidate Anas Sarwar) and told them I was going abroad for three weeks to work. They were both cool with that.
“I will be back for the budget in December.”
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.”
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“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.
— Jenny Gilruth (@JennyGilruth) November 23, 2017
“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?”