Labour’s Kezia Dugdale says father is SNP member

Kezia Dugdale says lots of her friends and family are active in political parties. Picture: John Devlin

Kezia Dugdale says lots of her friends and family are active in political parties. Picture: John Devlin

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SCOTTISH Labour deputy leader Kezia Dugdale has revealed her father is a fully paid-up SNP member.

The 33-year-old Lothian MSP said that despite their differences her father, Jeremy, was quick to phone her after a TV debate to congratulate her on her performance – even if he believes her politics are “all wrong”.

She also admitted that she’s “never entirely sure” whose side he is on during First Minister’s Questions, her weekly head-to-head with SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon.

She said: “Where would you get your fire from if everyone agreed with your politics all the time? That’s the way I like it.

“I think I’m really lucky to have lots of friends and family who are active in political parties, not just Labour.”

Her comments come just two months after she was elected deputy leader of the party following a meteoric rise.

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But she admitted that because of her rapid rise through the party there are still days that she becomes nervous in debates with the First Minster due to her relative lack of experience.

She added: “If people could see my jelly legs under the table at First Minister’s Questions, they would laugh.

“It’s a huge privilege to be a politician and deputy leader, but I know I don’t have the same experience as others around me.

“There are days when I still find I’m doing things for the first time, like big TV debates, but I hope my passion and enthusiasm for the job makes up for it.”

Miss Dugdale’s performance in a live TV debate in the run-up to the independence referendum helped her become a frontrunner for the deputy leadership.

Then relatively unknown, Miss Dugdale held her own alongside Better Together campaign heavyweights shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson as they took on Ms Sturgeon, Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie and actress Elaine C Smith.

Miss Dugdale also revealed in an interview that she had no plans to take fashion tips from Ms Sturgeon, who has taken to wearing designer suits since her appointment as First Minister.

“I’ll stick to my low-heeled boots and trouser suits,” Miss Dugdale said.

“I don’t worry about my image. I’m there for the people, not how I look.”

Describing herself as “more sidekick than superhero”, Miss Dugdale also said it suited her being deputy rather than leader – she is second in command to Labour MP Jim Murphy.

Otherwise she would want to be education secretary, having served previously as Scottish Labour spokeswoman for education and lifelong learning.

Miss Dugdale, the daughter of two teachers, said she had “very passionate views” on helping children from disadvantage backgrounds fulfil their potential. “It’s no longer enough just to hope that ‘bright’ kids will just shine brighter,” she said.

“Those in the shadows need a chance too.”

Miss Dugdale had been tipped as a potential Labour leader but ruled herself out following the resignation of Johann Lamont saying she was not experienced enough to take on the top job - despite being urged to do so by a number of colleagues. And she said last year she planned to limit her time in politics,

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