Kezia Dugdale: 'In 2017 my relationship ended and I lost best friend Gordon'

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Kezia Dugdale
Image caption,
Kezia Dugdale spoke about her personal life during a fringe meeting hosted by the Daily Record

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has spoken about the double heartache of breaking up with her fiancee and losing her best friend.

In the first few weeks of 2017, Ms Dugdale split up with her partner of nine years, Louise Riddell.

She was then left mourning the death of Labour activist and motor neurone disease campaigner Gordon Aikman.

Ms Dugdale was speaking at a Daily Record organised fringe event at the Scottish Labour conference in Perth.

She told the gathering: "My attitude in recent weeks has just been to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

"I broke up with my partner, who I had been together with for nine years, and that was undoubtedly very difficult and very challenging.

"To do it in the public eye - it's bad enough for anybody, let alone to do it on the front of the newspapers.

"Then I lost my best friend [Gordon] to a disease I knew was killing him, I just didn't expect it to take him quite so soon. So, 2017 hasn't been the greatest year so far."

'I love this party'

She quipped: "I thought 2016 was bad - I'm almost tempted to revisit it."

At the event Ms Dugdale said it was an "immense privilege" for her to lead her party in Scotland.

She added: "I've got a very strong sense of who I am and what my strengths are, what I can contribute and what I want to do with job.

"You do have personal sacrifice - it is public service - but I do it for a reason, I love this party, I love its potential. I love what it achieved in the past and I believe it can achieve great things again."

Image caption,
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale comforted a fellow mourner ay Gordon Aikman's funeral

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