SCOTS Labour leader Kezia Dugdale appeared in public with her partner for the first time – as she cast her vote in the Scottish elections.

The Labour politician was the first party leader to take to the polls on voting at St Ninian & Triduana RC Church in Edinburgh at around 8am.

HeraldScotland:

She was the fourth Scottish leader to come out last month, when she said: “I have a female partner. I don’t talk about it very much because I don’t feel I need to.”

As voting took place for the Scottish Parliament, Ms Dugdale appeared arm-in-arm with partner Louise Riddell as they walked into the polling station.

Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservative party; Patrick Harvie, the co-convenor of the Scottish Green party; and David Coburn, the leader of Ukip Scotland, have also come out as gay or bisexual, along with Scotland’s only Conservative MP, David Mundell, the secretary of state for Scotland.

In an interview in the Fabian Review, Dugdale, 34, divulged for the first time last month: “I have a female partner. I don’t talk about it very much because I don’t feel I need to.”

Her decision to reveal the information was met with widespread support among Scottish politicians.

HeraldScotland:

Explaining her decision to keep her private life away from the spotlight since being elected to the Scottish parliament in 2011 and becoming party leader in 2015, Dugdale said: “I don’t get easily stressed or battered. But I need a bit of stability to do that and that means my private life is my private life. That’s the thing I just have to have that nobody gets to touch, and that gives me the strength to be calm elsewhere.”

Ms Dugdale said in a later interview: “I believe fundamentally in equality and because of that I don’t think who my partner is matters. That’s why I chose to use language like ‘I have a female partner’, it was nothing to do with labels.

“It has everything to do with how I would describe my life and my partner and how I choice to talk about that.

“I’m quite clearly gay, it’s just the use of language that we’re talking about here and I just did it in a very natural way, in the way I would say to a complete stranger meeting for the first time or a friend or someone at work.”

Ms Dugdale appeared optimisitc as she arrived at the polling station despite the ongoing anti-Semitism row engulfing her party.

Earlier this week she admitted that the controversy was having a negative impact on her campaign, saying it had "unquestionably had an effect" and is being raised by voters on the doorstep.

But she insisted her party would not be overtaken by the Tories, as she hit out at leader Ruth Davidson's use of constitutional arguments during the campaign adding: "If we believed every word of the opinion polls, Ed Miliband would be prime minister, so I can spend that last few hours of this campaign talking about the opinion polls or I can put my trainers on and go out and campaign for every last vote, which is what I am going to do.

The latest opinion poll, conducted by Survation, found that while Labour was narrowly ahead in the constituency section of the vote, the Tories had a narrow lead in the crucial regional vote by a margin of only one per cent.