TWO of Scotland’s most senior female politicians have expressed opposition to the appointment of Kezia Dugdale to a plum Holyrood role – just weeks after she was accused of abandoning her parliamentary duties by appearing on a reality TV show.

Deputy presiding officers Linda Fabiani and Christine Grahame, who assist presiding officer Ken Macintosh, took the unusual step of refusing to back Dugdale after she was nominated for the key post by Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard.

Dugdale was accused of “demeaning” politics by taking part in I’m A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here which is shot in the Australian jungle.

She was watched by millions of TV viewers crawling through fish guts and drinking a smoothie made of ostrich anus and bull penis.

But despite the fury her appearance on the show caused among her colleagues, Leonard, who succeeded Dugdale as leader last week nominated her as Labour’s member on the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body. MSPs endorsed Dugdale’s nomination in a vote yesterday and she is due to attend her first SPCB meeting next week.

But in a statement to The National, SNP MSPs Fabiani and Grahame made their opposition to the appointment clear.

They said: “We did not think it appropriate that, given that Ms Dugdale abandoned her Parliamentary duties for I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here, she should then be our representative on the Parliament’s Corporate Body.”

A third SNP MSP, who did not want to be named, added: “After all the problems Kezia caused for her party when she was on I’m A Celebrity, I was pretty gobsmacked when she was nominated for the Corporate Body.

“She won’t get any extra pay, but it’s a prestigious post where she will have a lot of influence and responsibility. I felt I had to vote for her because it’s a convention that MSPs respect the party leaders’ nomination, but it doesn’t mean I approve of her membership of the body.”

Dugdale was given a written warning by party bosses for her three-week “unauthorised absence” after she returned to Holyrood last month.

Labour MSP Neil Findlay was one of her sternest critics while she was away. He hit out strongly over her appearance on the show – for which she will receive a substantial fee.

Findlay said: “I think it’s an utterly ludicrous position. You have a situation where we’re in the run-up to the budget in Scotland ... when people’s living standards are falling, they expect their MPs, MSPs, councillors and all elected representatives to be in fighting on their behalf.

“I don’t think people would expect them to jet off around the world and sit around a camp fire eating a kangaroo’s appendage.”

He added: “I think it demeans politics when people get involved in that. I think we’ve a very serious job to do. People out there are struggling and there’s huge pressures on public services. That’s the job you should be doing. I take my job very seriously, so do my colleagues, and they would expect better.”

SPCB members help manage the Scottish Parliament’s £89 million a year budget, make decisions on security and staffing, ensure the smooth running of the building, and help resolve any legal disputes – as the SPCB did over the indycamp at Holyrood. Dugdale last year criticised the all-male membership of the body at the height of claims over sexual harassment in politics, and after Leonard nominated her last week she made a point of saying she would use the position on the body to fight for gender equality.

SNP MSP Rona Mackay also abstained on yesterday’s vote, while 106 MSPs supported Dugdale’s nomin-ation. Following claims over male dominance of key roles in Holyrood the SNP member on the SPCB Gordon Macdonald stood down from the role and was replaced by long-serving backbencher Sandra White.

Dugdale replaced Labour MSP David Stewart on the body. A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “Having been successfully elected to the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body by MSPs, Kezia Dugdale will fight for gender equality, transparency and policies that tackle the problem of sexual harassment with the Scottish Parliament.”