Kezia Dugdale avoids suspension over I'm A Celebrity appearance

21 November 2017, 14:58

Former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale will not be suspended for an "unauthorised leave of absence" to appear on I'm A Celebrity, the party has announced.

The MSP faced criticism from some colleagues when she was revealed as a surprise contestant in the ITV show on Saturday.

But a party official confirmed Ms Dugdale would keep the party whip and be interviewed upon her return from Australia.

Business manager James Kelly said: "The Scottish Parliamentary Labour group today discussed the decision of Kezia Dugdale to take an unauthorised leave of absence from her parliamentary duties.

"Today, the group concluded that Kezia Dugdale would not face suspension.

"In accordance with standard procedure, Kezia Dugdale will be interviewed on her return to Parliament and have the opportunity to present her account of events."

A spokesperson for Ms Dugdale said: "Kezia will fully comply with the interview process on her return and will get straight back to work as a Labour MSP, holding regular surgeries as she always has done and assisting Lothian constituents."

UK Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn has already said the former Scottish Labour leader, who quit in August, should not be suspended for taking part in the reality TV show.

Richard Leonard, who was elected as her successor on the same day as news of the programme's line-up broke, also said suspending her was not his "immediate reaction".

But Labour MSP Neil Findlay branded her decision "utterly ludicrous", suggesting it "demeans politics".

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tuned into the first episode of I'm A Celebrity and declared she was "#teamKez", but later added: "It's not something I would want to see an SNP MSP do."