Kezia Dugdale’s joy following engagement to ‘love of her life’

Kezia Dugdale with her partner Louise Riddell. Picture: Scott Louden
Kezia Dugdale with her partner Louise Riddell. Picture: Scott Louden
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SCOTTISH Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has spoken of her joy after getting engaged to the “love of her life” Louise Riddell in Mallorca.

The couple, who have been together since 2008, are said to be “delighted” and are looking forward to planning their wedding.

They shared diamond-encrusted rings from Glasgow’s James Porter & Sons and celebrated with drinks on the beach in Puerto Soller over the weekend.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was among those who tweeted their congratulations.

The couple are yet to set a date for their wedding but they said it was likely to be somewhere between next summer and their 10th anniversary.

Ms Dugdale, who is a Lothians MSP, said: “I’m utterly thrilled to be marrying the love of my life and we can’t wait to start planning.

“We hope this news brings a smile to a few people’s faces and we’ll certainly be toasting all those campaigners and activists who made marriage equality possible.”

They met in Restalrig at a house party hosted by mutual friends, several years before Kezia started her tenure as Scottish Labour leader.

Ms Riddell, 33, a lecturer at Edinburgh College, is said to be a keen runner, Labour activist and feminist.

The pair were first photographed together in public on Holyrood election polling day in May a month after Kezia revealed she had a female partner.

They have been in a relationship for eight years but have been fiercely protective of their private life. With weeks before the Holyrood election, Kezia said: “I don’t talk about it very much because I don’t feel I need to.

“And there’s something too about how meteoric my career has been. I am generally calm, almost serene. I don’t get easily stressed or battered.

“But I need a bit of stability to do that, and that means my private life is my private life.

“That’s the thing I just have to have that nobody gets to touch, and that gives me the strength to be calm elsewhere.”

Scotland’s equal marriage laws were pushed through after months of resistance from religious leaders in 2014, a year after England and Wales.

Holyrood has three gay or bisexual party leaders. Conservative leader Ruth Davidson announced in May that she will marry partner Jennifer Wilson.

Patrick Harvie, the co-convener of the Scottish Green party, is bisexual, while Scotland was recently voted the best place in Europe to be gay.

Scottish Secretary of State David Mundell came out as gay in January.