KEZIA Dugdale has abandoned her last-ditch attempt to prevent a court battle against Wings Over Scotland.

Stuart Campbell, author of the pro-independence site, alleges that the former Scottish Labour leader defamed him in her Daily Record column.

In September, Sheriff McGowan ruled that “the facts must be heard” in the case, rejecting an attempt by Dugdale to have the defamation action thrown out.

Her team launched a last-minute appeal against that ruling, but this has now been withdrawn, meaning that she will face a court battle.

Wings Over Scotland published a screenshot of a legal document dated October 29 yesterday which stated that a procedural hearing set for December 10 had been abandoned.

Captioning it, he wrote: “Kezia Dugdale has dropped her appeal against the Sheriff’s judgement of 18 August. The case will now proceed.”

In her newspaper column last year, the MSP had claimed that a comment made on Twitter by Wings Over Scotland was “homophobic”.

The tweet said: “Oliver Mundell is the sort of public speaker that makes you wish his dad had embraced his homosexuality sooner.”

Dugdale’s fair and honest comment defence needed to prove that the case was “bound to fail”, but the sheriff rejected that bid, ruling that her remarks were capable of carrying a defamatory innuendo.

A political angle has been attached to the case amid infighting within the party over her legal fees. Dugdale questioned “how people can trust” the Labour Party after it ended its financial support for her case.

Labour’s previous general secretary Iain McNicol promised to support Dugdale.

However, he was replaced by Jennie Formby, a Jeremy Corbyn supporter, in March.

They party paid the £90,000 accrued so far, but her costs for the trial itself could run into six figures.

The Daily Record has promised legal support for Dugdale in the court battle.

At the time that was announced, Campbell told The National: “It’s been mad watching Labour throw vast sums of money into defending the reputation of a straight white male Tory MSP, but I suppose that’s ‘Better Together’ for you.

“I’m looking forward to holding Kezia Dugdale to account in court – if she ever stops trying to wriggle out of it on technicalities – and destroying the disgusting and totally false smear against me that she’s spent the last 18 months perpetuating from behind a shield of Parliamentary privilege and other people’s money.”