Kezia Dugdale 'sad' and 'sore' over end of relationship with her dad

Kezia Dugdale.
Kezia Dugdale.
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Former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has told how the end of her relationship with her father is still "sore", as she praised Ruth Davidson for blazing a trail as a lesbian politician.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland' Call Kaye show today, the MSP said she just "couldn't get over" Jeff Dugdale's public support for controversial independence blogger Stuart Campbell, who sued her for defamation after she accused him of writing "homophobic tweets".

Ms Dugdale had previously had a difficult relationship with her independence supporting dad, who would at times criticise her on Twitter, but she said, his support for the man who sued her was "the end of us."

She said: "There were times at that point when I was in a really dark place and was on the cusp of feeling like I was going to lose everything, that's how I felt, and my dad was chatting to him [Campbell]... I really struggled with that."

Asked if she thought her father had taken her feelings into account, she said: "I have no idea if he took it on board. I haven't spoken to him for at least a year. This case brought all that to a close. It's very sad to be estranged from a parent, it's not a nice experience. It happens to a lot of people, but you hit a limit and can't pretend it's okay. It's just too sore."

At the close of the defamation case Sheriff Nigel Ross found that Mr Campbell did not hold homophobic views but ruled that Ms Dugdale’s comments were “protected under the privilege of fair comment” and she would not have to pay a penalty.

READ MORE: Kezia Dugdale wins defamation case against Wings over Scotland

Dugdale was on the radio show to discuss why she has decided to quit frontline politics for a job in academia, becoming director of the John Smith Centre for Public Service.

She admitted that in politics "the public scrutiny of your life, parts your private life, can be tricky, but that comes with the job". Asked if she was not "cut out for the rough and tumble of politics", she responded: "I've heard that before and I don't accept it. Yes, I've sometimes had an emotional response to things, and I've not always stuck to the line which has got me into trouble, but I think people like that - I don't regret being different in that regard.

"Was I too young [as leader] - probably - things happened too soon. I had a meteoric rise and the thing about meteors is they rise quickly and fall quickly. But now I've a chance to take my experience and do something else with it."

She also praised Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson for always being open about being a gay woman. Ms Dugdale has previously said she felt "outed" by a journalist in an interview, as she did not tend to discuss her own sexual orientation, but admitted it was "probably a good thing" to have happened.

She said: ""I didn't want to be defined by my sexuality. I didn't think it mattered. Every time I saw Ruth Davidson interviewed she was always pre-fixed by the term "lesbian kickboxer" and I didn't want that. Ruth did a lot of the battling for me, and others.

"Since then I have felt a responsibility to speak out on behalf of LGBT young people. And we now have the same battle with trans people. Many people in this country are saying it's not possible for transition from one sex to another or if you do then you must be mentally ill. The way we talk about trans people is the same way we talked about lesbian and gay people 20 or 30 years ago, we have to say live and let live."