MANY a politician has a shady past they’d rather keep hidden in this scandal-obsessed society.
But MSP Jean Urquhart has spoken for the first time of her dodgy “previous” – working as one of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy bunnies.
She has told how she lied about her age to don a skimpy bunny outfit complete with ears in London’s Playboy Club at the height of the Swinging Sixties.
The now 63-year-old, who recently resigned from the SNP to become an independent, revealed she was only 17, but lied about being 18 to get the exclusive waitressing job.
Mrs Urquhart, who represents the Highlands and Islands, told how she was given “personality” training – and warned against dating clients by the club’s strict managers.
She said: “They gave us training and also a kind of personality thing and paid for people to get their hair done.
“They were really strict about who you were allowed to meet and you were taken home in a taxi at three in the morning. But the girls were great. One of the things about that kind of job is the great camaraderie.
“Some people took it really seriously and the ambition for some was to get to Chicago or wherever the original Bunny Club was. I have to say that I didn’t see that the sleazy side; I was just young and I was having fun.”
But the politician, originally from Bathgate, West Lothian, said her stint at the club only lasted four weeks and she spent most of the time hiding out in a cloakroom because she was self-conscious about her legs.
She added: “I mean I was low, low, low. I was also conscious that I never had very good legs, so I was also really quite happy that I was in the cloakroom. I dreaded at the time that I’d have to go across the floor because I didn’t have very good ankles and I was quite self-conscious about that.”
The first Playboy Club opened in 1960 and there were dozens of branches around the world before the last one closed in 1991.
However, a club reopened in 2006 in Las Vegas. Mrs Urquhart’s unlikely stint was one of a series of jobs she took after moving from Scotland to London “on a whim” in 1967, the year of the Summer of Love.
She moved to Glasgow the following year, where she met her “soulmate”, the television actor Robert Urquhart, who appeared in series such as The Pathfinders and The Avengers. The couple later moved back to his birthplace of Ullapool. They had two children and over 40 years built up Ceilidh Place, a combination of accommodation, bar and arts venue.
Mrs Urquhart was elected in last year’s SNP landslide Holyrood election victory, but resigned from the party a fortnight ago over its decision to drop its opposition to an independent Scotland becoming a member of Nato.