Kezia Dugdale

Kezia Dugdale
Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
Assumed office
15 August 2015
Deputy Alex Rowley
Preceded by Jim Murphy
Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
In office
13 December 2014  13 June 2015
Leader Jim Murphy
Preceded by Anas Sarwar
Succeeded by Alex Rowley
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for the Lothian Region
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
Assumed office
5 May 2011
Personal details
Born (1981-08-28) 28 August 1981
Aberdeen, Scotland
Nationality British
Political party Labour Co-operative
Domestic partner Louise Riddell
Residence Lochend, Edinburgh
Alma mater Aberdeen University
Edinburgh University

Kezia Alexandra Ross Dugdale (born 28 August 1981)[1] is a Scottish Labour Party politician and has been the Leader of the Scottish Labour Party since 15 August 2015 and served as the Leader of the Scottish Opposition from the start of her tenure as Scottish Labour leader in August 2015, until the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary elections in May 2016, where Labour slipped into third place, behind the Scottish Conservatives.

In 2016 Dugdale led Labour to its worst performance in a Scottish election in over a century. Labour finished in third place behind the Tories who supplanted Labour as the main opposition at Holyrood. She was previously the Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party from 2014 to 2015 and has been a Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Lothian region since 2011.[1][2]

Early life and education

Dugdale was born in Aberdeen in 1981.[1] She completed her secondary schooling at Harris Academy in Dundee, where she was Head Girl.[3]

She studied Law at the University of Aberdeen from 1999 to 2003, and completed a Masters in Policy Studies from 2004 to 2006 at the University of Edinburgh.[1] As well as living in Aberdeen and Dundee, she has resided in Elgin, Moray, before settling in Edinburgh in 2003. While studying in Edinburgh, Dugdale worked as Campaigns and Welfare Adviser for Edinburgh University Students' Association and as Public Affairs Officer at the National Union of Students Scotland.[1]

Political career

Early career

She sat on Scottish Labour's Policy Forum from 2006–08 as well as serving as an election agent to both Sarah Boyack MSP and Sheila Gilmore MP.[4] She had also volunteered as a researcher in the parliamentary office of Pauline McNeill MSP.[5]

She worked from 2007 to 2011 for the Labour Lothian regional MSP George Foulkes, Baron Foulkes of Cumnock as his parliamentary office manager and political adviser.[1]

Scottish election, 2011

In 2011, she was elected to the Scottish Parliament, as Scottish Labour's second candidate on their list for the Lothian Region. She serves as a Scottish Labour and Co-operative Member and currently sits on the Local Government and Regeneration and Subordinate Legislation Committees.[6][7] Dugdale was appointed to the post of Scottish Labour's Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning on 29 June 2013.[8]

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 party leader Dugdale lost Edinburgh Eastern on polling day, trailing the SNP candidate by 5087 votes.

Deputy leader of Scottish Labour

In 2014 she was elected as Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, replacing Anas Sarwar, and defeating Katy Clark. As Jim Murphy, Labour's Scotland leader, did not have a seat in the Scottish Parliament, she stood in for him at First Minister's Questions.[9]

Leader of the Scottish Labour Party

On 13 June 2015, she resigned the Deputy leadership in order to seek the leadership in the leadership election, which she won on 15 August.[2]

In an August 2015 interview with The Guardian she refused to publicly say who of the four candidates in the UK Labour leadership election she supported, but did express serious doubts as to whether Jeremy Corbyn could ever become Prime Minister.[10] After Jeremy Corbyn had been elected as leader, she revealed for the first time, on BBC Question Time on 30 October that she had voted for Yvette Cooper.[11]

On 29 June 2016, Kezia Dugdale called for Jeremy Corbyn to resign his position as Labour Leader after 174-to-40 Labour MPs voted backing a no confidence motion in Corbyn's leadership. Dugdale said that when at least 80% of his own MPs have lost confidence in his leadership and no longer support him, Corbyn could not properly do the job of Labour Leader, could not function as Leader of the Official Opposition in parliament, and nor could he form a potential alternative government.[12]

On 22 August, Kezia Dugdale declared her support for Owen Smith against Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Labour leadership election. She also said her position would remain tenable were Corbyn to win re-election.[13] After Corbyn won the vote, she first said that this made the Labour Party unelectable, then stated the opposite, prompting criticism from Ken Livingstone who pointed out that most people in Britain had not heard of Dugdale.[14]

Policy positions

Dugdale has said she wants to end the charitable status of private schools in Scotland which gives them tax breaks; in her opinion this is unfair to state schools.[15]

In a 27 July 2015 televised leadership debate with Ken Macintosh, she said it was wrong that the vast majority of 232 Labour MPs abstained on the Conservative Government's Welfare Reform and Work Bill in the 20 July second reading vote in the House of Commons.[16]

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.[10]

Personal life

Dugdale said that she was in a relationship with a woman as of 2016, but that she was disinclined to provide details of her private life.[17][18] She first appeared in public with her partner Louise Riddell when they voted together in Edinburgh at the Scottish Parliament election in May 2016.[19][20][21]

She describes her interests as going to the theatre, reading Scottish crime novels and enjoying the city of Edinburgh in which she lives. She is a supporter of Hibernian, living close to Easter Road.[22] She has lived in the Lochend and Meadowbank area since 2006.[23]

She is a member of Unite the Union and the Community trade union. She has a weekly column in the Daily Record, and has regularly written for LabourList and Progress.[4]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 The Scottish Parliament – Current MSPs – Kezia Dugdale – Personal Information
  2. 1 2 "Scottish Labour agree to swathe of party reforms – and new leader will be announced on 15 August". LabourList. 13 June 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  3. Ogston, Graeme. "City education chief denies snubbing Kezia Dugdale over visit to old school". The Courier. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  4. 1 2 "People: Kezia Dugdale". Scottish Labour Party. Archived from the original on 26 March 2016.
  5. "Independence First, Scotland Second".
  6. The Scottish Parliament: – Committees – Local Government and Regeneration
  7. The Scottish Parliament: – Committees – Subordinate Legislation
  8. "Johann Lamont in Scottish Labour front bench shake-up". BBC News. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  9. "MP Jim Murphy named Leader of Scottish Labour". BBC News. 13 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  10. 1 2 Brooks, Libby (2 August 2015). "Kezia Dugdale: Corbyn win could leave Labour 'carping on sidelines'". The Observer. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  11. Eve Hartley (30 October 2015). "BBC Question Time Audience Meets Kezia Dugdale's Rallying Cry With Defiant, Awkward Silence". The Huffington Post UK. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  12. "Kezia Dugdale calls on Corbyn to resign after no confidence vote".
  13. Gayle, Damien (22 August 2016). "Scottish Labour leader backs Owen Smith against Jeremy Corbyn" via The Guardian.
  14. "Kezia Dugdale faces revolt after chaotic flip-flop on Jeremy Corbyn". Herald Scotland. 25 September 2016. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  15. Paul Cardwell (22 June 2015). "Private schools row reignited by Labour candidate". Third Force News. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  16. "Scottish Labour leadership debate: Labour Party 'should not split'". BBC News. 27 July 2015.
  17. Riddell, Mary (1 April 2016). "The long road: interview with Kezia Dugdale". Fabian Review. Fabian Society. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  18. "Kezia Dugdale clarifies independence stance". BBC News. 1 April 2016. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  19. Williams, Martin (5 May 2016). "Kezia Dugdale makes public appearance at the polls with her partner". The Herald. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  20. Ramaswamy, Chitra (7 May 2016). "Dugdale and Davidson: ordinary photos that tell an extraordinary story". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  21. Moss, Stephen (11 July 2016). "I don't want to choose between two unions". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  22. "Kezia Dugdale: Easter Road project is a game changer". Edinburgh Evening News. 19 March 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  23. "Candidates for 2016". Scottish Labour Blog. Archived from the original on 1 April 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Anas Sarwar
Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
Succeeded by
Alex Rowley
Preceded by
Jim Murphy
Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
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