Kezia Dugdale to donate funds from I’m a Celebrity stint to homelessness charity
Kezia Dugdale, who is appearing on this year’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! series, is to donate her MSP salary to the Rock Trust, which supports young people at risk of or affected by homelessness in Scotland.
In a video recorded for constituents before she flew to Australia, Ms Dugdale said she is appearing on the ITV reality show to talk to young people across the UK about politics and her Labour values.
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 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.
In the video recorded in the Scottish Parliament before she left, Kezia Dugdale said: “I appreciate that to quite a few of my constituents, this is quite a controversial move.
“I know there will be people that are upset about it, who will question my priorities. So I wanted to take a little minute to explain why I’m doing this and hope that I can get your support for the adventures ahead.
“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.”
She added: “I appreciate, however, that I am away whilst I’m supposed to be doing my job, and that’s why I have donated my salary for the whole time that I am in Australia to the Rock Trust.
“The Rock Trust is an organisation in Edinburgh and the Lothians that exists to support young people affected and at risk of homelessness. They are an amazing organisation that do fantastic work supporting vulnerable people across this city and beyond it.
“So I’ve donated £2,500 to them, which is my salary for the time that I’m out of the UK, and hope that you can support their work too.
“In the meantime, please tune into the show. 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?”
A spokesperson for the Rock Trust said: “We are very grateful to Kezia Dugdale for choosing to support the Rock Trust with a donation and wish her luck during her time in the jungle. Her support will directly benefit our frontline work supporting young people at risk of or affected by homelessness in Scotland.”