Holyrood crunch meet to decide Dugdale fate

The prospect of Labour disciplinary action against former leader Kezia Dugdale over her appearance on I'm A Celebrity Get Me out of Here will be become clear in a crunch meeting of the party's Holyrood group this week.

Kezia Dugdale's decision to appear on I'm A Celebrity may have grave consequences for her political career. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Kezia Dugdale's decision to appear on I'm A Celebrity may have grave consequences for her political career. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The Lothians MSP has faced stinging criticism from her own Labour colleagues over the move, with backbencher Neil Findlay claiming yesterday it “demeans politics”.

But Ms Dugdale’s partner, the SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth, went on the offensive yesterday as she accused Labour politicians of “bullying”.

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New party leader Richard Leonard met with Labour Parliamentarians yesterday, but the row over Ms Dugdale was off limits.

“The situation was not discussed,” a party spokesman said.

“That will take place at a meeting of the Scottish parliamentary group during the week.”

Mr Findlay offered a withering assessment of Ms Dugdale’s decision to travel to Australia for the ITV reality show where she will appear alongside Boris Johnson’s father Stanley.

“I think it’s utterly ludicrous – a ludicrous position,” Mr Findlay said.

“When you think we’re in a situation where we’re in the run-up to the budget in Scotland, where local government is on its knees, where the NHS is showing pressures like never before, when people’s living standards are falling and they expect their MPs, MSPs, councillors – elected representatives – to be in, fighting on their behalf.”

He added: “I think it demeans politics.”

But Ms Gilruth hit back on social media, contrasting Mr Findlay’s comments with an unflattering cartoon tweet he previously posted referencing Nicola Sturgeon’s anatomy.

She later added: “I see @scottishlabour have developed their own unique take on the final day of #AntiBullyingWeek.”

Ms Dugdale’s decision has come under fire from other Labour MSPs with Jenny Marra describing it as a “shortcut to celebrity” and Mr Leonard voicing his disappointment. Jeremy Corbyn said it would be wrong to suspend her.

Ms Dugdale has said she would donate a portion of her appearance fee from the show to charity, along with her earnings as an MSP while she is not a Parliament. She has defended the move as a platform to promote Labour politics to a TV audience of millions.