Who is Kezia Dugdale? Meet the I’m A Celebrity contestant and MSP

The former leader of the Scottish Labour Party is set to join the jungle camp - but why is her arrival so controversial?

I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! has welcomed the first 10 contestants to the jungle, but camp isn’t full just yet.

Former leader of the Scottish Labour Party Kezia Dugdale is expected to be one of two new campers heading into the show as late additions, and has already been photographed arriving in Australia.

[Read more: I'm A Celebrity 2017 line-up]

Read on to find out more about Kezia before she meets her co-stars.

What is Kezia Dugdale known for?

MSP Kezia was the leader of the Scottish Labour Party from August 2015 to August 2017.

She rose through the ranks of the party quickly, being elected as an MSP for Lothian in 2011 and going on to become deputy leader in 2014.

Kezia resigned from her post in August this year, saying she wanted her successor to have time to prepare for the 2021 election, and the role was taken over by Richard Leonard.

Date of birth: 28thAugust 1981

Phobias: I have had to deal with rats and snakes… but never creepy crawlies and I am scared of
them and birds.

Missing any special occasion: Day-to-day life as a Scottish MP.

Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the Jungle: I think people see me as good-natured
but I can be steely too. I am very determined.

Role in the camp: Keeping the peace. I had to do that in the Labour Party!

Miss most: Caffeine and food.

Dream camper: Scarlett Moffatt. I like Gogglebox and I am a fan of hers, so if I could bring her back then that would be great.

Relationship status: In a relationship.

What do her fellow politicians think of her jungle stint?

The idea of Kezia joining the show has caused some tension within the Scottish Labour Party as she apparently didn’t get permission to be away from Holyrood for three weeks while the Scottish Parliament is in session.

Party leader Richard Leonard told BBC Radio Scotland: “There are issues around not just the fact she is there, and the kind of programme it is and people’s view of that, there’s also a question of whether she got permission to do it. My understanding is she sought permission and wasn’t given permission.”

[Read more: Amir Khan flops in first jungle challenge]

Labour MSP Neil Findlay called her decision “utterly ludicrous. It demeans politics when people get involved in that.”

But Tory MP Nadine Dorries, who was suspended when she went into the jungle in 2012, praised Kezia for finding a way to make herself relevant to voters, and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he didn’t think it would be appropriate for Kezia to be suspended.

[Read more: Edwina Currie warns against politicians entering jungle]

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said she wouldn’t want any of her SNP MSPs to follow in Kezia’s footsteps, but tweeted that she had been tuning in to I’m A Celebrity in hopes of seeing her and labelled her tweet #TeamKez.

Which other politicians have taken part in I’m A Celebrity?

Nadine Dorries caused a stir when she left her duties as Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire to take part in the contest in 2012. She found herself suspended from the party, but is now back in her post.

Edwina Currie had long since left office when she moved into the jungle in 2014, and also took part in Strictly Come Dancing in 2011.

Former police officer Brian Paddick was the Liberal Democrat candidate for the London mayoral elections in 2008 and 2012, but that didn’t stop him from taking part in 2008’s jungle contest.

[Read more: Stanley Johnson focused on breakfast not Brexit]

Ex-Welsh Lib Dem leader and MP for Montgomeryshire Lembit Opik joined the jungle camp in 2010, but was the second celebrity to be eliminated in the public vote.

If Kezia is looking for political discussion, she could turn to campmate Stanley Johnson who was an MEP for Wight and Hampshire East, and is the father of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

When might we see Kezia in the jungle?

Kezia will enter the jungle on Thursday (November 23) episode.

Latest headlines

Viewers hit out at Kezia Dugdale doing I'm a Celebrity >

Kezia Dugdale: I'm used to dealing with snakes and rats >

Kezia will use I'm a Celeb to talk politics >

In her own words

Scottish Labour MP Kezia Dugdale reveals she knows her decision to go on this year’s I'm A Celebrity is a controversial one and she predicts some of her colleagues will be "shocked and angry".

But the 36-year-old politician thinks the chance to talk more about her party’s values and take part on such a popular programmewas too big an opportunity to turn down.

"I think people’s overriding emotion will be, first and foremost, of shock. I think there will be a few people angry," she admits. "They will be angry because they will say I should be doing my day job and I am going to be away. I understand that anger.

"I've seen them be angry over similar things other people have done but I can’t help but think that it is an amazing opportunity to talk to millions of people about the Labour Party, its values and how it is different. I am not going to talk about politics all the time but it is who I am, what I do and I can't help it."

"Did I tell anyone beforehand? Other than my partner and office manager, I didn’t tell anyone about the show."

"I quit as Leader and so there was no obvious person to ask for permission."

"I went to the two people who were running for Scottish Leader and told them I was going abroad for three weeks to work. They were both cool with that. I will be back for the budget in December.

[Read more: 10 amazing facts you never knew about I'm a Celebrity]

So what exactly does she think Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour hierarchy will make of her going in the Jungle? "I think Jeremy will be pretty relaxed," replies Kezia. "I think he will have a good laugh at my expense. I think he will be more than happy to see me do it!

"Yet whilst Kezia can’t wait to embrace life in the camp, she confides that she did think long and hard about it all. Other than the incredible opportunity, she reveals the death of her best friend in February also made her realise that she had to go for it. “Doing I’m A Celebrity is hugely different," she explains.

"At first when they approached me, I was very up and down about it and I couldn’t make up my mind. In fact I said 'no' initially. I thought there was absolutely no way I would do it, as it would be the end of my political career. But the moment I did, I regretted it and I knew that if I tried my best, I would be daft to turn it down."

"Also, I sadly lost my best friend to Motor Neurone Disease in February and he taught me so much about how important it is to live your life well and never let an opportunity go by. I am doing this with that ethos in mind.”

Admitting she is feeling exhilarated, scared and nervous, Keziahopes to push herself to new mental and physical limits. “I am used to dealing with rats and snakes but I’ve never had to deal with creepy crawlies before,” she says. “I ran upstairs when I saw a spider the other day and I’ve got a big fear of birds that stems from when I saw a scary picture of a pigeon as a toddler. I was petrified and I’ve lived with that ever since."

"I know I am not totally useless but I will scream, shout and then get on with it.”

[Read more: Six classic I'm a Celebrity meltdowns]

She isn’t sure how she is going to cope on a basic diet either. “I am not the type of person who wants to speak to anyone until I have had two cups of coffee in the morning,” she reveals. “I am a happy-go-lucky type of person but take the caffeine and the food away and I am a bit worried about unleashing a monster in me!”

But she does think life in Parliament will put her in good stead when it comes to the different personalities around the campfire. “I am surrounded by people who don’t agree all the time,” she says.

So does going on I'm A Celebrity mean she is contemplating quitting politics afterwards? Definitely not, she insists.

"It is my life and I am fully committed to finishing"

I’m A Celebrity continues at 9pm on ITV.

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