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Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale Praised For Coming Out In Interview That Focused On Politics

For once the media got it just right.

02/04/2016 13:42 | Updated 02 April 2016

Kezia Dugdale, the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland, has been met with an outpouring of support after revealing she has a female partner, as supporters also praised the interview for focusing on politics rather than her sexuality.

Dugdale, 34, was cheered by supporters from within politics and beyond for saying she is in a relationship with a woman, but doesn't feel she "needs" to talk about it.

Speaking about her private life for the first time in an interview with the Fabian Review, Dugdale said: "I have a female partner. I don’t talk about it very much because I don’t feel I need to".

Danny Lawson/PA Wire
'My private life is my private life.'

She was praised for her "inspiring" openness and commenters also celebrated the fact that her revelation was not a major part of the interview article, which was dominated by her views on the EU and Scottish independence.

Dugdale said that she valued privacy after her "meteoric" arrival in the public eye after being elected to the Scottish parliament in 2011 and becoming the leader of Scotland's Labour Party in 2015.

But she tweeted on Saturday to thank supporters for the "lovely messages" she had received since the interview's publication.

"There’s something too about how meteoric my career has been. I am generally calm, almost serene," she explained in the interview.

"I don’t get easily stressed or battered. But I need a bit of stability to do that, and that means my private life is my private life. That’s the thing I just have to have that nobody gets to touch, and that gives me the strength to be calm elsewhere."

Figures including Christian rock star Vicky Beeching and former MSP Margaret Smith replied to her on Twitter, telling her: "It really matters when politicians stand up and come out" and that others would "now stand taller because of your openness".

Some commenters also praised the fact that the Fabian Review interview focused on politics, while keeping the information on Dugdale's sexuality to a small paragraph in the middle of the piece.

Dugdale said in the interview that "it's not inconceivable" that she could support Scotland leaving the UK if the UK leaves the EU, the Press Association reported.

She said she "would very much like" to remain part of both the UK and EU, but asked where her "loyalty" would be if there was an overall vote to leave in the EU referendum but the majority of Scots wanted to remain.

She told the Fabian Review: "I've never contemplated that. I really wouldn't like to choose, because what I want to do is the best possible thing for Scotland. (I would be) putting Scotland first."

When pushed on the topic and asked if she would "argue, for Scotland's sake, against the UK Union", Ms Dugdale said: ''Possibly. It's not inconceivable."

Ms Dugdale later moved to clarify her position in a statement, saying: "As I made clear in the leaders' TV debate this week, Labour has ruled out a second independence referendum. We won't introduce one in government and we would vote against one if it's introduced by any other party.

"I campaigned as hard as anybody to ensure that Scotland remained part of the UK. The collapse in the oil price showed that the best way to secure our public services is to stay in the UK.

"I would vote to stay in the UK in any future referendum."

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