Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale 'set to join I'm A Celebrity 2017 as a late entrant'

Ex-Scottish Labour leader faces backlash after reportedly 'abandoning' her duties for ITV jungle show

Kezia Dugdale on ITV News

Former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has reportedly signed up to join I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! 2017 as a late entrant, in a move that could trigger a political backlash.

According to The Sun, Dugdale will travel to Australia this weekend for the ITV jungle show, which begins on Sunday.

The 36-year-old is known for leading the Scottish Labour Party for two years, until she quit the role in August.

However, she remains a Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Lothian region - meaning her move in to reality TV will likely spark controversy.

A stint on I'm A Celeb would result in Dugdale being away from her parliamentary duties for around three weeks.

The newspaper's insider commented: "This signing is bound to annoy a lot of taxpayers. Kezia is going to be unable to perform her day job and serve her constituents for several weeks.

"It might be good publicity for her, but there’s some who will think it’s not so good for the Labour party.

"Bosses know she’ll get people talking. Kezia’s a strong figure with some forthright views which she will bring to the show."

Speaking to The Scottish Sun, a source 'close to' Dugdale defended her latest move, calling it a "fantastic opportunity" for her to speak about "Labour values".

"She puts other politicians to shame with her work ethic," they said. "I’m sure there will be huge support for her from Scottish viewers while she’s in the jungle."

The source also claimed Dugdale will donate the MSP salary she receives during her absence to charity.

ITV has yet to confirm whether additional contestants will join I'm A Celebrity's launch line-up of ten familiar faces.

One of them is Tory figurehead Boris Johnson's father Stanley, so Dugdale's arrival could trigger political debates in camp.

Producers traditionally add at least two newcomers midway through the first week.

Dugdale would be the first sitting politician to take part in I'm A Celebrity since Nadine Dorries in 2012.

Conservative Party officials temporarily suspended Dorries over her involvement in the show, which she did not declare in advance.

I'm A Celebrity isn't the only show getting political at the moment, with Labour's Jeremy Corbyn recently appearing on Gogglebox.

Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson will also appear in an upcoming celebrity edition of The Great British Bake Off.

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