Ex-Labour leader Dugdale joins I’m A Celebrity

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Kezia DugdaleImage copyright PA

Scottish Labour’s new leader Richard Leonard has said the party’s MSPs will consider suspension for his predecessor Kezia Dugdale.

Ms Dugdale, still an MSP, has been revealed as a surprise contestant in ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! programme.

Mr Leonard said he was a “bit disappointed” by her participation.

Ms Dugdale is understood to be donating her parliamentary salary to charity while she is on the show.

Mr Leonard said of a possible suspension for the former leader: “I awoke as many other people did this morning to the news that Kezia is going into that programme.

“I think that is something the [parliamentary] group is going to have to consider over the next few days and I think we will consider.”

He added that he was “a bit disappointed” to hear Ms Dugdale would be appearing on the ITV show.

However, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said he does not believe Ms Dugdale should be suspended from the party over her appearance on the programme.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Leonard is “disappointed” by Kezia Dugdale’s television appearance

Mr Leonard was answering questions about his predecessor shortly after his election to the position of Scottish leader.

He secured 56.7% of votes in the contest to beat his rival Anas Sarwar.

Following his election, Mr Leonard said: “With this new movement for real change, energised with this new generation helping to lead it. But founded on our old and enduring idealism too.

“That is the unity we can rally around, not simply a call for unity but around a renewed unity of purpose.”

He added: “So that our purpose today is not just elected a leader. My aim is to be the next Labour first minister of Scotland.”

‘Shortcut to celebrity’

Ms Dugdale’s decision to take part in the show has also been criticised by Scottish Labour MSP Jenny Marra, who tweeted: “Election to parliament is a privilege to serve and represent people. It’s not a shortcut to celebrity.”

Ms Marra, the MSP for North-East Scotland, also questioned whether the announcement was an “April Fool in November”.

The ITV show launches this weekend, with other contestants including Boris Johnson’s father Stanley and former footballer Dennis Wise.

All the other celebrities heading for the jungle were announced on Tuesday.

Boxer Amir Khan, Coronation Street’s Jennie McAlpine footballer Jamie Vardy’s wife Rebekah, The Saturdays singer Vanessa White and Hollyoaks actor Jamie Lomas will also be taking part.

The personalities will try to last three weeks with each other, and the local wildlife, in the camp.

Earlier, Scottish Labour said it was not officially commenting on Ms Dugdale’s last minute inclusion in the line-up, but a party source said it would be a “fantastic opportunity” for the MSP to talk about policies and Labour values on a widely watched show.

“She puts other politicians to shame with her work ethic and I’m sure there will be huge support for her from Scottish viewers while she’s in the jungle.

“She’ll be back in time for the budget and will get straight down to work once again for the people of the Lothians,” the source added.

Image copyright Joel Anderson/ITV
Image caption The rest of the contestants were announced earlier in the week

About 10 million people tune in to the show every night.

Ms Dugdale stood down as Scottish Labour leader in August. Richard Leonard was appointed as her successor on Saturday.

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