THE NEW LEADER of the Scottish Labour Party can expect less criticism from the direction of at least one SNP supporter – her Elgin-based father.
Kezia Dugdale swept to power with almost three-quarters of the vote from Scottish Labour members at the weekend, an astonishing achievement for someone who has only been an MSP for four years.
That is perhaps indicative of the turmoil faced by a party that has seen an almost constant change of leadership as it struggled to cope with their falling popularity and the rise of the SNP, culminating in a near-whitewash from the Scottish political map in the Westminster elections this year.
Miss Dugdale was always favourite in a leadership chase prompted by the resignation of Jim Murphy that followed humiliating defeat back in May. One slight embarrassment for the new leader, however, has been from within her own family – with dad Jeffrey Dugdale a committed nationalist.
And the former Elgin High deputy head teacher – who still lives in Moray – has never been slow to remind her when things have not quite gone Labour’s way.
But after his daughter’s triumph this week, Mr Dugdale has declared himself a “proud dad” and promised to be more guarded when making public comments in future. He said: “I am immensely proud of my daughter – what father would not be? She has dedicated herself to the job and given 100% at all times.
“I have texted her my congratulations and we will talk on the telephone later – we have different political beliefs but we have agreed to disagree on that.”
Looking back on his daughters interest in politics, Mr Dugdale admitted that he was not at all surprised she has carved a successful career in that area: “We would sit up all night watching General Election coverage – and as the result were coming in she would fill in a chart with the parties’ colours.
“So it is hardly surprising she has made a career out of politics. Now she has a Herculean job in front of her – First Minister, that is her ambition.”