|Leader of the Scottish Labour Party|
15 August 2015 – 29 August 2017
|Leader||Harriet Harman (Acting)|
|Preceded by||Jim Murphy|
|Succeeded by||Richard Leonard|
|Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party|
13 December 2014 – 13 June 2015
|Preceded by||Anas Sarwar|
|Succeeded by||Alex Rowley|
|Member of the Scottish Parliament|
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
5 May 2011 – 15 July 2019
|Preceded by||Fiona Hyslop|
|Succeeded by||Sarah Boyack|
|Born||28 August 1981|
|Political party||Independent (since 2019)|
|Labour and Co-operative (until 2019)|
|Alma mater||University of Aberdeen|
University of Edinburgh
Kezia Alexandra Ross Dugdale (born 28 August 1981) is a Scottish politician. She was the Leader of the Scottish Labour Party from 15 August 2015 until her resignation on 29 August 2017. She was previously the Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party from 2014 to 2015, and was a Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Lothian region between 2011 and 2019.
Dugdale was born in Aberdeen in 1981. She attended secondary school at Harris Academy in Dundee, where she was Head Girl. She studied Law at the University of Aberdeen from 1999–2003, and completed a Master's Degree in Policy Studies from 2004–06 at the University of Edinburgh. As well as living in Aberdeen and Dundee, she has resided in Elgin, Moray, before settling in Edinburgh in 2003. Whilst attending university, Dugdale worked as Campaigns and Welfare Adviser for Edinburgh University Students' Association and as Public Affairs Officer at the National Union of Students Scotland.
Dugdale sat on Scottish Labour's Policy Forum from 2006 until 2008, as well as serving as an election agent to both Sarah Boyack MSP and Sheila Gilmore MP. She had also volunteered as a researcher in the parliamentary office of Pauline McNeill MSP. She worked from 2007 to 2011 for the Labour Lothian regional MSP George Foulkes, at the time also a Labour life peer, as his parliamentary office manager and political adviser.
In the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, Dugdale was elected to the Scottish Parliament, as Scottish Labour's second candidate on their list for the Lothian region. She served as a Scottish Labour and Co-operative Party member and sat on the Local Government and Regeneration and Subordinate Legislation Committees. Dugdale was appointed as Scottish Labour's Spokesperson for Education and Lifelong Learning on 29 June 2013.
In 2014, members of the Edinburgh Eastern Constituency Labour Party selected Dugdale as their candidate for the 2016 Scottish Parliament Election. Despite her higher profile as a major party leader, she lost Edinburgh Eastern on polling day, trailing the SNP candidate by 5,087 votes.
On 15 July 2019, Dugdale resigned as a Member of the Scottish Parliament. The following day it was announced she would be succeeded by former transport minister Sarah Boyack, who had been a candidate on the Lothian regional list in 2016. On 10 October 2019, it was revealed she had also resigned from Scottish Labour in the July, following disagreement with the party over Brexit.
Dugdale won the 2014 Scottish Labour Party deputy leadership election, succeeding Anas Sarwar, and defeating Katy Clark. As Jim Murphy, Scottish Labour's leader, did not have a seat in the Scottish Parliament, she stood in for him at First Minister's Questions. On 13 June 2015, she resigned from the deputy leadership in order to contest the 2015 Scottish Labour Party leadership election. She was succeeded by Alex Rowley after the leadership election.
During the 2015 leadership election campaign, Dugdale said she would want to end the charitable status of private schools in Scotland which gives them tax breaks, a policy in her opinion unfair to state schools. In a 27 July 2015 televised leadership debate with Ken Macintosh, she said it was wrong the vast majority of the 232 Labour MPs abstained on the Conservative Government's Welfare Reform and Work Bill in a 20 July second reading vote in the House of Commons. Following the Lord Sewel scandal and resignation on 28 July 2015, she said the House of Lords should no longer be an unelected chamber and should be moved to Glasgow. She won the leadership on 15 August, defeating Macintosh.
During an August 2015 interview with The Guardian, Dugdale refused to publicly say who out of the four candidates in the UK Labour Party leadership election she supported, but did express serious doubts as to whether Jeremy Corbyn could ever become Prime Minister. After Corbyn had been elected as Leader of the Labour Party on 13 September, she revealed for the first time, on BBC Question Time on 30 October, she had voted for Yvette Cooper.
Dugdale led Scottish Labour into the 2016 Scottish Parliament election. Dugdale wanted to re-affirm Scottish Labour's core beliefs and covey to the electorate what the party stood for. She focused her campaign on a proposal to increase income tax to tackle underfunding of services by the Scottish National Party government, particularly in education. Meanwhile, the Scottish Conservatives' ambitions were to oppose Scottish independence and push Ruth Davidson as an effective leader opposed to the SNP's governmental agenda. The results put Scottish Labour behind both the SNP and Scottish Conservatives, with the party falling into third place from second. The party made a net loss of 12 constituency seats, gaining only one and holding another two, but retained 21 of its 22 regional seats which assign additional members to address imbalance in constituency results. Dugdale was once again returned as an additional member for the Lothian region, having failed to win Edinburgh Eastern.
On 29 June 2016, Dugdale called for Jeremy Corbyn to resign from his position as Leader of the Labour Party, after 174-to-40 Labour MPs voted backing a no-confidence motion in his leadership. She said that when at least 80% of his own MPs had lost confidence in his leadership and no longer supported him, Corbyn could not properly do the job of Labour leader, function as Leader of the Official Opposition in parliament, nor form a potential alternative government. On 22 August, she declared her support for Owen Smith in the 2016 Labour Party leadership election but also said her position would remain tenable were Corbyn to win re-election. After Corbyn won the leadership election, she first said that this made the Labour Party unelectable, then stated the opposite.
Dugdale was Leader of the Scottish Labour Party during the 2017 general election. In the previous general election in 2015, the party lost 40 of its 41 seats in what was a landslide victory for the SNP, who won 56 of the 59 seats in Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon based the 2017 SNP campaign on a promise to seek a second Scottish independence referendum with the aim of keeping an independent Scotland inside the European Union, a referendum Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Conservatives were opposed to. Dugdale again campaigned against what she saw as the need for an income tax increase tackle education under-funding under the SNP. The results gave Scottish Labour seven seats but the party remained in third place behind the SNP with 35 and Scottish Conservatives with 13. In their previously sole seat Edinburgh South, Ian Murray was returned with a super-majority of over 15,000, and the party gained a further six seats from the SNP.
On 29 August 2017, Dugdale resigned as leader of Scottish Labour with immediate effect, commenting that it was time to "pass on the baton" to someone else. She opined that her successor needed the "space and time" to prepare for the next Scottish Parliament election in 2021.
Dugdale became a columnist for the Daily Record. In 2018 Stuart Campbell, a blogger running the pro-independence Wings Over Scotland website, started defamation proceedings against Dugdale about comments she made as a columnist about his Twitter activity, a case he lost. The judgement said Ms Dugdale was incorrect to imply that Mr Campbell is homophobic but he said her article was protected under the principle of fair comment.
On 29 April 2019, Dugdale announced that she would be resigning as an MSP before the summer recess of the Scottish Parliament in order to take up the role of director of the John Smith Centre for Public Service at the University of Glasgow.
In November 2017, ITV announced that Dugdale would appear as a contestant on its reality television series, I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! It was subsequently reported that she faced disciplinary action from the Labour Party because she did not notify party managers she would be out of the country on non-work related business while the Scottish Parliament was in session. On 21 November, the party said that she would not be suspended. She subsequently received a written warning from Labour regarding the episode upon her return to Scotland in mid December.
Dugdale made her first appearance on I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! on 22 November. She became the second person to be eliminated from the show. Speaking about the experience afterwards, she said that she knew her appearance on the programme would be a "political gamble", but that she wanted to "take on the myth that every politician [is] old, white, male, pale and stale" and would return home "with my head held high". She expressed regrets of the effect of her appearances on the show during the first weeks of the new Labour leadership in Scotland, and received a written warning for agreeing to take part without approval from the Scottish Labour parliamentary group. She promised to donate her MSP’s salary for her absence, and part of her show fees, to charity.
Dugdale says her interests include the theatre, Scottish crime novels, and the city of Edinburgh. She supports Hibernian F.C., living close to their ground at Easter Road. At university she had little real interest in student politics. She has lived in the Lochend, and Meadowbank, area since 2006. She is a member of Unite the Union and the Community trade union. She has a weekly column in the Daily Record, and has written for LabourList and Progress.
In a 2016 interview with Mary Riddell for the Fabian Review, Dugdale said that she was in a relationship with a woman, but that she was disinclined to provide details of her private life. She first appeared in public with her partner Louise Riddell when they voted together in Edinburgh at the Scottish Parliament election in May 2016. In February 2017 Dugdale revealed that the couple had separated shortly after the New Year and following nine years together. In July 2017, it was reported Dugdale was in a relationship with Jenny Gilruth, the MSP for Mid Fife and Glenrothes, and a member of the SNP; the two had started dating around four months earlier. In September 2017, she was named Politician of the Year at the Icon Awards, an awards ceremony celebrating Scotland's LGBT community.
Dugdale's father Jeff Dugdale is a retired teacher living in Moray and is a campaigner for the Scottish independence movement. Her relationship with her father has been left "sad" and "sore" by his public criticisms toward her over Twitter and support for Stuart Campbell in their defamation case.
| Member of the Scottish Parliament
|Party political offices|
| Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
| Leader of the Scottish Labour Party