Kezia Dugdale given written warning after I’m A Celebrity appearance
She said she regretted the “issues” her appearance on the programme had caused Scottish Labour’s new leader.
Kezia Dugdale has been given a written warning by Scottish Labour bosses after taking part in reality TV show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!.
While the former Scottish Labour leader escaped suspension for taking an unauthorised leave of absence, she said she regretted the “issues” her appearance on the programme had caused the party’s new leader.
Richard Leonard was voted in as the new leader of the Scottish Labour in November, on the very same day news broke that Ms Dugdale was heading for the Australian jungle.
After returning to Scotland earlier on Wednesday, Ms Dugdale headed to the Scottish Parliament for talks with Mr Leonard and Scottish Labour business manager James Kelly.
After the meeting Labour issued a statement, with Mr Kelly confirming: “Today Kezia Dugdale MSP was interviewed by the Scottish Labour parliamentary group executive regarding her unauthorised absence from Parliament for three weeks.
“Following a discussion between Richard Leonard, Kezia Dugdale, and the group executive, it has been decided that the group will reprimand Ms Dugdale by way of written warning. She will not face further action.”
The Lothian MSP returned to Holyrood the day before the Scottish Government’s Budget for 2018-19 – in which it is expected SNP ministers will increase income tax for higher earning Scots.
Ms Dugdale said: “I deeply regret that this caused issues in the first weeks of Richard Leonard’s leadership and I am determined that it won’t affect Labour’s ability to scrutinise the Scottish Budget.”
Speaking to reporters after arriving at Glasgow Airport, Ms Dugdale, who was the second contestant voted off the ITV show, said it was “good to be back” in Scotland.
She added: “It was an experience I am never going to forget. I’m obviously going to the parliament now and I will have more to say later on.”
The MSP, who remained in Australia until the programme’s final on Sunday, had said she wanted to use her appearance to reach out to young people about political values.
Asked if she felt she had in fact promoted Labour values she replied: “I did so in the jungle and will continue to do so.”
Ms Dugdale, had already acknowledged she has “a bit of work to do to make amends” with those in the party who criticised her decision to take part in the show.
She previously told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme it was difficult to seek approval during the leadership contest between Mr Leonard and Anas Sarwar.
The election, triggered by her resignation in August, was won by Mr Leonard who expressed his disappointment at his predecessor’s decision.
After being voted out, Ms Dugdale said: “I do understand that it’s controversial, I do understand there are lots of people at home that are unhappy that I’ve taken part in this programme and I’ve got a bit of work to do to make amends.
“But please don’t doubt the fact that I’m devoted to the Labour Party, I love my job and I think I’m better-placed to do it for a long time now having had this experience.”
The former party leader said she will donate a percentage of her appearance fee to charity and is happy to serve new leader Mr Leonard in any role.