Belfast Telegraph

Kezia Dugdale: No regrets about I'm A Celeb

Former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has said she took part in I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here to show young people that politicians are human and to encourage them to vote.

The MSP was the second contestant to get the boot from the reality TV show but said she has no regrets.

She told ITV's Lorraine: "I always knew it was going to be a big gamble for me politically.

"I know that it's controversial to see an elected politician, a current politician, do something like this but I wanted to show people that politicians come in all different shapes and sizes, that they are not all elderly white men of a certain generation, there are young people there that want to represent young people and show the best of our politics."

She added: "I'm confident that I've done what I went into the jungle to do, to talk about politics as a force for good in the world, to show that women can be strong, that women can do a man's jobs, so to speak, something that Amir (Khan) and I had a few run-ins here and there, and also have a laugh and let people see that politicians are human.

"I think that's really important in the world that we live in right now."

She added: "I know I'm going back to a good deal of criticism and I will take that face on, I've got to have a lot of conversations with people but I'm going back with my head held high.

"I came out here to do what I wanted to do, I believe I've succeeded in that and I love my job, it's a great privilege to be a Labour politician and I fully intend on continuing to do it for a very long time.

"The way I look at it is this is the most watched family TV programme in the history of TV, so to speak, and it's watched largely by young people aged 18 to 24.

"That is the very group of people who are least engaged with politics so a big part of why I wanted to do this was to go out there and show people that politics matters, that there is a big difference between the two major parties, that your vote does count, to encourage young people to vote, because it's only if young people vote that they will get the type of change that they want to see in their country."

Dugdale got the chop in Sunday night's episode of the ITV show, following comedian Shappi Khorsandi's elimination on Friday.

She said one of the hardest things about her time in the jungle had been being parted from her girlfriend, the SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth.

She said: "It was incredibly difficult to go a good two weeks without even seeing a picture or hearing her voice.

"Lots of couples have to spend time apart for their work or for whatever other reason but this was a bit different. I got to speak to her as soon as I left camp but that was filmed for ITV2 so we couldn't really have a proper chat but when I got back to the hotel we had a decent chat on FaceTime for half an hour or so and that was just lovely.

"She's just the most beautiful girl, she's incredibly smart and funny and I can't wait to get home to see her.

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