Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has defended Kezia Dugdale's decision to enter the jungle as a contestant in I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!
The former Scottish Labour leader's surprise move has ignited controversy, with many arguing the show will boost her profile but leave her constituents neglected, and others calling for her to be suspended from the party.
While newly-appointed Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said he will hold talks with his MSPs about suspending his predecessor in the next few days, Mr Corbyn has said the 36-year-old should not be suspended from the party for appearing in the reality TV show.
"It's her choice to go on I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!, I don't think it's appropriate to suspend someone from the party for doing that, that's her choice," Mr Corbyn said.
Despite Mr Corbyn's defence of Ms Dugdale's decision, Mr Leonard said "a discussion" would be had about the reality show contestant in the coming days.
"There is no doubt that when I heard the news this morning and saw some of the social media comments coming in there was a big frenzy of reaction against it," Mr Leonard said.
"But I think we will need to give it due consideration as a group over the course of the next few days."
Ms Dugdale is headed to Australia after being added to the show's line-up at the last minute.
The MSP will join confirmed contestants boxer Amir Khan, Saturdays singer Vanessa White and Made In Chelsea's Georgia "Toff" Toffolo.
A source close to Ms Dugdale called her appearance on the show a "fantastic opportunity for Kez to speak about politics and Labour values on one of the most popular and watched TV shows in the UK".
The source said the MSP will donate her salary to charity for the period she is away, adding: "I'm sure there will be huge support for her from Scottish viewers while she's in the jungle".
It comes as some said Ms Dugdale should quit her position as an MSP if she takes part in the show.
“It’s hard to represent constituents when you’re on the other side of the world," a source told the Sun.
“Kezia is going to be unable to perform her day job and serve her constituents for several weeks while she’s in the show."
Labour MSP Jenny Mara was among those criticising Ms Dugale on Twitter.
Ms Dugdale would not be the first serving MP to swap casework for bushtucker trials.
Conservative Nadine Dorries also took part in the show in 2012, but faced a backlash for "abandoning" her voters. The party also temporarily suspended her for taking the decision to join the show with their knowledge or blessing.
Neither publicists for I'm A Celebrity were not available for comment.
- I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! begins on ITV at 9pm on Sunday