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I'm A Celebrity: Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale paid £70,000 for appearance

Kezia Dugdale takes part in a challenge on I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!
Kezia Dugdale takes part in a challenge on I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! Photograph: ITV/Rex/Shutterstock

Kezia Dugdale has confirmed that she donated to charity just over £5,000 of the £70,000 fee she received for her controversial appearance on I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!

The former Scottish Labour leader’s decision to spend three weeks filming on location in Australia while the Scottish parliament was in session attracted criticism from across the political spectrum, including from some previously stalwart supporters.

A spokesperson for the MSP, who has informed Holyrood authorities of the payment, said after tax in the UK and Australia the remaining sum was £45,000.

Dugdale donated £5,100 to three charities she said were doing “amazing work” across Scotland. Glasgow Women’s Aid, Who Cares? Scotland, which works with children in care, and the Archie Foundation, which helps sick children, will each benefit from £1,700.

Before appearing on the programme, Dugdale donated her £2,500 parliamentary salary for her time in Australia to the Rock Trust, an Edinburgh-based charity.

She said: “I’m pleased that a number of charities which do amazing work across Scotland will benefit financially from this. I’m delighted to be back in the parliament serving my constituents across the Lothians.

Since becoming the second contestant to be voted out by the public, Dugdale has stood by her decision to take part in the contest, during which she searched through fish guts for food tokens and drank a smoothie made from blended ostrich anus.

She nevertheless described it as “an amazing opportunity to talk to young people who watch this programme about politics and, in particular, Labour values”.

Dugdale takes part in a Labour-inspired bushtucker trial
Dugdale takes part in a Labour-inspired bushtucker trial Photograph: Gourley/ITV/Rex/Shutterstock

On her return to Scotland in December, Dugdale received a written warning from the Scottish Labour executive for agreeing to take part in the show without formal approval from party officials to be absent from the Scottish parliament.

At the time, she said she “deeply regretted” the effect of her decision on the early weeks of her successor Richard Leonard’s leadership.

Leonard, a Corbynite reformer whose convincing victory was overshadowed by Dugdale’s surprise announcement, has expressed his disappointment at her involvement in the show, questioning whether it was “a good way of getting across the message of socialism on television”.

In her Holyrood parliamentary register of interests, Dugdale stated: “Between 19 November and 13 December 2017 I took part in the ITV production I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

“I received a total of between £80,001 and £85,000 in remuneration (which included a fee of £70,000, travel and accommodation and a daily payment whilst not in the camp) from ITV Studios Limited (a television production company of The London Television Centre, Upper Ground, London, SE1 9LT).”

Overall she has raised a total of nearly £30,000 for charity since 2015.

This article titled "I'm A Celebrity: Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale paid £70,000 for appearance" was written by Libby Brooks and agency, for The Guardian on Friday 12 January 2018 03.29pm

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