FORMER Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has said she has “a bit of work to do to make amends” following her appearance on I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!
The MSP was the second contestant voted off the ITV reality show on Sunday but will remain in Australia until next week when the programme finishes.
Labour described her participation in the show as “an unauthorised leave of absence” but Ms Dugdale was not suspended from the party.
She is to be interviewed by party chiefs when she returns to Edinburgh next week.
Speaking to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme, Ms Dugdale said it was hard to seek approval as there was a leadership contest going on between Richard Leonard and Anas Sarwar.
She said: “I approached both of the leadership contenders at the time and told them that I planned to go away for three weeks, to go abroad to do something to raise a little bit of money for charity.
“I couldn’t say more than that because of the nature of the contract.
“I must say, though, that 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.
Asked how she will make amends to constituents and party members, Ms Dugdale said: “I’d like to do a lot of that, first and foremost, privately so that we can have honest, free and frank conversations.
“I have been in touch with the new leader of the Scottish Labour Party and I’m hoping to have a proper conversation with him soon before I return to Scotland.
“I want to come back in a way that doesn’t impinge in any way on any plans that he might currently have.
“We’ve got a budget process that starts in the Scottish Parliament next week, we’re going to hear about the SNP’s tax proposals and these are big moments in the political week, and I want to do my level best not to interfere with that.
“I love my job, I’m very happy that Richard is the new leader, I support him in all his endeavours and I’ll serve him in whatever way he thinks it’s appropriate for me to do so.”
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