Holyrood 2016: Kezia Dugdale pledges to fight for LGBT community

Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale visits the Enchanted Forest Nursery in Robroyston, near Glasgow, on the campaign trail. Picture: SWNS
Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale visits the Enchanted Forest Nursery in Robroyston, near Glasgow, on the campaign trail. Picture: SWNS
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KEZIA Dugdale has opened up about her sexuality as she pledged to use her position to “make a difference” for young LGBT people.

The Scottish Labour leader, who has previously steered away from talking about her private life, recently revealed she has a female partner.

In an interview with PinkNews, Ms Dugdale said she was “quite clearly gay” but that her choice of language, by not using the labels bisexual or lesbian, was a natural and not a political decision.

She said: “I believe fundamentally in equality and because of that I don’t think who my partner is matters. It’s just how I live my life and I expect people to accept that.”

Ms Dugdale said she had long used her position to champion LGBT rights, from signing the campaign for equal marriage in 2005 to supporting sexual health services in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

She added: “The most important thing to me is that I use the voice and the power that I have to make a difference for young LGBT people, and that’s why I look back at what I’ve done over the past five years with a great deal of pride.

“It’s much like the argument around gender equality. It’s not enough for Scotland to just have a female First Minister or to have a gay leader of the opposition. That is not enough progress for me.

“You have to use that power, that potential, that voice, to drive a change, and that’s how I would measure my own success.”

Her comments came as a poll found support for the SNP had dipped, though the party still had a clear lead.

In the TNS survey, the SNP was on 52 per cent in the constituency vote, down four points since last month, with Labour up three to 22 per cent, the Tories up two to 17 per cent and the Lib Dems up one to seven per cent.

In the list vote, the SNP was down two points to 45 per cent; Labour up one to 22 per cent, the Tories up three to 18 per cent; Lib Dems down one to 5 per cent and the Greens unchanged on 8 per cent.

The findings were projected to give the SNP 70 seats, Labour 27, the Tories 21, Greens eight and Lib Dems three.

Meanwhile, Tommy Sheridan’s party, Solidarity, launched its manifesto, vowing to press for a second independence referendum in 2018.

Mr Sheridan said: “We are supremely confident that the people of Scotland realise they were lied to, bullied and conned.

“People realise the British establishment used everything in its power to lie and bully the ordinary people of Scotland and it had an effect.

“The Unionist parties deserve to be punished at the election for the lies they told.”