North-east backlash as Kezia Dugdale heads into the jungle

Kezia Dugdale’s decision to take part in I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here has prompted concern among her party colleagues in the north-east.

The former leader of Scottish Labour has signed up to appear as a “surprise contestant” in the Australian jungle-based reality show.

Labour MSP for the North East, Lewis Macdonald, said he would discuss the matter today with his other members.

He added: “I will speak to my colleagues before passing judgment but this certainly seems like a very surprising development, and one that will have caused a good deal of concern.”

Scottish Labour has not officially commented on the matter, but a party source argued that it would be a “fantastic opportunity” for the MSP to talk about policies before a wide audience.

However, Mr Macdonald dismissed that notion as “an odd suggestion”.

He said: “Members of parliament are elected to speak on behalf of their constituents in parliament, that is what we should all be doing.”

Mr Macdonald’s wife, Sandra, is one of nine Aberdeen councillors Ms Dugdale suspended from Scottish Labour after they ignored orders to abandon a power-sharing deal with the Conservatives following May’s council elections.

Last night, she said: “This isn’t something I would do myself, being a celebrity is very different from being a politician.”

Labour MSP for Lothian, Neil Findlay, blasted the move as “utterly ludicrous”.

New Scottish Labour leader, Richard Leonard, said MSPs will consider whether to suspend the 36-year-old for going to the jungle.

However, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn argued that she should not be suspended as appearing on the ITV series was a choice she was entitled to make.

Ms Dugdale’s dad, Jeff Dugdale, previously served as deputy rector at Elgin High School and is a retired Highland League referee.

Mr Dugdale, an SNP supporter, has previously exchanged good-natured barbs with his daughter on social media.

Over the weekend, he conceded via Twitter that Ms Dugdale’s latest move had caused some “irritation” among her Scottish Labour cohorts.

The politician will be joined in the jungle by celebrities such as former footballer Dennis Wise, Boris Johnson’s father Stanley and The Saturdays singer Vanessa White.