FORMER Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has revealed she feared a £200,000 bill if she had lost the defamation case brought against her by Nationalist blogger Stuart Campbell.

The MSP, who is leaving frontline politics, said that she faced the prospect of financial ruin after the Labour Party stopped funding her defence last year.

She said that decision - taken by the party's UK leadership - left her "heartbroken", and that she had considered she might lose her home and rack up huge debts if the Wings Over Scotland writer had won in court.

READ MORE: Kezia Dugdale wins £25k defamation case brought by Wings Over Scotland​

Ms Dugdale was the subject of a legal action by Mr Campbell after she accused him of writing “homophobic tweets”.

After a three-day hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court earlier this year, Sheriff Nigel Ross issued a written judgement ruling Ms Dugdale will not have to pay damages.


Ms Dugdale was sued by Stuart Campbell

The Labour Party had been paying for Ms Dugdale's lawyers, but pulled funding last year when the bill stood at £93,000, before the case even reached a full hearing. 

In an interview with the BBC, Ms Dugdale took a swipe at her treatment by Labour, saying: "I did not know what the legal bills were until the Labour Party pulled support because they were covering it all.

"I had never even seen a bill. I didn't know what the hourly rate was or what meetings had been done in my name that came with a price tag.

"When I did at the stage when we lost last August [in a bid to stop a full hearing taking place], it was £93,000. On top of that the the £25,000 he was looking for plus all the additional costs when were to come when it reached a full hearing."

READ MORE: Kezia Dugdale releases statement after winning defamation case

She added: "In my head, at the most irrational moments, I thought I was facing towards £200,000 of potential debts. Money I didn't have.

"It was horrible and I felt that I had been put there by my party, the party of solidarity.

"The party of equality that wasn't stepping up to defend a young, female, gay leader who had seen something she had considered to be homophobic and had spoken out about it. I was heartbroken. It was really hard."

HeraldScotland: Kezia Dugdale has criticised Jeremy Corbyn for opposing single market membership

Ms Dugdale and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

The Labour politician is to take up a new role as the head of Glasgow University’s John Smith Centre, and will step down from the Scottish Parliament next month.

She said that she still supports Labour, and did not consider joining the SNP despite the lack of support in her case.

She remains opposed to Scottish Independence, although admits the case for the Union is "harder to argue" in the light of Brexit and the prospect of Boris Johnston occupying No 10 Downing Street.

READ MORE: Kezia Dugdale quitting politics for post at Glasgow University

Ms Dugdale said: "My views on the constitution haven't changed. If I'm honest, it's getting harder to defend the union but I still would because I still believe it's the best way to share resources across the UK.

"But I'm not immune to the prospect of a Scotland that voted to be part the European Union and is being forced to leave it plus having a Boris Johnston Prime Minister and all that will come from that. 

"Of course that makes the case for the union harder to argue."

However, she added that unless the SNP can answer "big questions" on the economy and currency of an Independent Scotland, she expects people to vote to remain in the UK in any future referendum.