Kezia Dugdale: I'll stand for election again in 2021
Former Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has said she is in politics for the "long-term" as she prepares for her introduction to the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here camp.
Ms Dugdale has come under fire over her decision to miss her MSP duties for a three week stint in the jungle but has said in a video, recorded at Holyrood before leaving, that she wants to use the reality TV show as a platform to promote Labour values.
The Lothians MSP faces a grilling form party bosses when she gets back after appearing on the show without permission - but insists she plans to be standing for election again at the next election in four years.
Ms Dugdale said she is donating her £2,500 MSP salary while she is away to homelessness charity the Rock Trust.
The ex-Labour chief said he realised people would be upset with her decision and "question her priorities."
But she said: “First and foremost, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here is a huge UK-wide television programme, with an audience into the millions.
“I think it’s an amazing opportunity to talk to young people who watch this programme about politics, and - in particular - Labour values.
“The first time I was approached to do this programme, I said no. I turned it down because I didn’t think I could be away from my job for over five weeks. The show came back to me and asked me if I would do it if I could go away for just three weeks and two days, and that’s what I’m going to do.
“So the minute that I leave Australia I’ll be coming back to the Scottish Parliament to do my job as Labour MSP for Edinburgh and the Lothians, and I’m committed to doing that for the long-term and I hope to stand at the next election again as well.”
A portion of her appearance fee, which contractually cannot be disclosed at this stage, will also be donated to charity on her return. Ms Dugdale has already donated more than £20,000 to charity as an MSP as a result of her column in the Daily Record.
Ms Dugdale said in the video that she originally turned down an offer to be away from parliament for five weeks, but accepted a shorter three-week trip and will immediately get straight back to work as a Labour Lothian MSP on her return from Australia.
And she applealed to constituents to "tune into the show."
She added: "You’ve got an opportunity to vote for me to do horrendous tasks covered in beasties, and you also have a chance to vote me out when the time comes too.
“Wish me luck, and if I have to do some of the eating tasks, well – who knows?”