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Ex-Labour leader Kezia Dugdale to star on I'm A Celebrity

Lothian MSP is expected to fly to Australia to take part in the hit ITV show.

Kezia Dugdale: MSP quit as Scottish Labour leader in August.
Kezia Dugdale: MSP quit as Scottish Labour leader in August. PA

Kezia Dugdale is set to appear on hit ITV reality series I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!

The former Scottish Labour leader is expected to fly to Australia to star in the survival game show, which starts on Sunday.

She will feature alongside boxer Amir Khan, Boris Johnson's father Stanley and Saturdays singer Vanessa White, as part of a total of 12 contestants.

The decision has drawn strong criticism and surprised reactions from fellow Scots politicians.

A source close to Dugdale, who resigned from the Scottish Labour leadership in August, said she will donate her salary as MSP for Lothian to charity while she appears on the show.

The source described the move as a "fantastic opportunity... to speak about politics and Labour values on one of the most popular and watched TV shows in the UK".

Dugdale's successor as party leader was announced as Richard Leonard on Saturday, following a two-month leadership contest between the MSP and colleague Anas Sarwar.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1402509-richard-leonard-elected-as-new-scottish-labour-leader/ | default
I'm A Celebrity: Here are some of the campmates confirmed for 2017.
I'm A Celebrity: Here are some of the campmates confirmed for 2017. ITV

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: "Kezia clearly thinks dining on kangaroo testicle is more appealing than being an MSP.

"She should consider her position as an elected member before chucking herself off that plane over the Australian jungle."

Dugdale's party colleague Jenny Marra was also critical of the move, describing being an MSP as "a privilege... not a shortcut to celebrity".

Other reactions to the news on social media ranged from amused to unimpressed.

But a source close to the former Scottish Labour leader said: "What a fantastic opportunity for Kez to speak about politics and Labour values on one of the most popular and watched TV shows in the UK.

"Everyone in the party knows Kez worked tirelessly as leader, and held over 30 surgeries this year alone despite the pressure of being in the top job, and she has donated more than £20,000 to charity.

"She'll now be giving even more to charity, including her salary while she's away for a short while.

"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."

The source added: "She'll be back in time for the budget and will get straight down to work once again for the people of the Lothians."

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1396666-kezia-dugdale-resigns-as-scottish-labour-leader/ | default

It comes after it was announced last month that Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson would feature in a special episode of the Great British Bake Off.

She will take part in a charity special of the programme to raise money for Stand Up To Cancer.

The last politician to appear on I'm A Celebrity was Nadine Dorries, Tory MP for Mid-Bedfordshire, in 2012.

Dorries was heavily criticised for the decision and was also briefly suspended from the Conservative party.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1400086-ruth-davidson-to-star-in-great-british-bake-off-special/ | default

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