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“What I’m trying to do is leave with my head held high.”

Kezia Dugdale has resigned as leader of the Scottish Labour Party after two years in the post. She wrote in her resignation letter that the time has come for the party to embrace a new leader with “fresh energy, drive and a new mandate”.

Speaking to BBC Scotland, Dugdale explained that she wanted to give her successor the “space and time” to establish themselves.

She denied all suggestions that she was leaving to avoid being pushed out by Jeremy Corbyn supporters, saying:

“I refute that absolutely. What I’m trying to do is something that politicians rarely do, which is to leave with my head held high, without any sort of crisis.”

A source from the Scottish Labour Party told The Courier:

“This is both a disappointment and a blow.

“Kezia could have been a radical and transformative Labour first minister.

“We currently have an SNP government that is obsessed with separation and has allowed our public services to rot while it focuses on sowing division.

“The tragedy is Kezia always understood those problems that exist in Scotland.

“With our new leader, we will find those solutions and deliver a government that works.”

In the past Dugdale, an out lesbian, has spoken about the importance of LGBT issues. She told Pink News:

“The most important thing to me is that I use the voice and the power that I have to make a difference for young LGBT people and that’s why I look back at what I’ve done over the past five years with a great deal of pride.”

Last month she revealed that she is in a relationship with SNP politician Jenny Gilruth.

In response to her resignation, Stonewall Scotland tweeted to thank Dugdale for the support she has shown to LGBT matters.

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn has also tweeted to thank Dugdale for her work:

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