KEZIA Dugdale is set to ditch Holyrood for a new job, it was confirmed yesterday.

The former Scottish Labour leader will leave the Parliament in July to become the director of Glasgow University’s John Smith Centre for Public Service.

Dugdale, who has been an MSP since 2011, said it was an “incredibly exciting new opportunity”.

The mission of the John Smith Centre’s mission is to try and encourage “talented people” to enter politics.

On their website, the group says: “it is critical to the social and economic wellbeing of our country that the most able and willing to serve represent us.”

Dugdale said: “Throughout my career I have taken on tough and challenging tasks, and my next task is to rebuild faith in our politics.”

When Dugdale quits the Parliament her seat will be offered to the next available person on Labour’s list for the Lothian regional list for Labour, which is currently former MSP Sarah Boyack.

In recent years, Dugdale has often found herself at odds with both her successor Richard Leonard and with UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

It all came to a head during her defamation battle with Wings Over Scotland’s Stuart Campbell, when the party abruptly and unexpectedly ended financial support for her legal fees.

Labour’s previous general secretary Iain McNicol made a commitment to pay Dugdale’s costs, but his replacement, Jennie Formby, cut off support when they reached £90,000.

Dugdale said the decision had left at her lowest point and fearing bankruptcy.

On Saturday, in a Twitter poll run by the Strathclyde University Labour Club, she was chosen as the winner of the Scottish Labour Party World Cup. Leonard was knocked out in the first round.

On Monday, he paid tribute to his predecessor: “Kezia will be a loss to the Scottish Labour Party but I am sure she will still play a valuable role in public life going forward.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Dugdale’s resignation would be “a big loss” for Labour and the Scottish Parliament.