Former Scottish Labour boss Alex Rowley has returned to Holyrood after steering clear of the parliament for several weeks.
The Fife MSP, who was acting leader during the race to succeed Kezia Dugdale, was suspended from the Labour group after a former partner claimed he sent abusive texts.
Mr Rowley, who denies the allegations, faced criticism on his return to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday for staying away so long.
A Labour source said Mr Rowley failed to turn up for more than a month, despite still being an MSP and picking up his taxpayer-funded salary.
“He might be suspended from the Labour group, but he’s not suspended from representing his constituents,” the source said.
“He can fight to clear his name while still doing his job.
“Some in the party have accused Kez of demeaning politics by appearing on the country’s most popular TV show.
“They really need to ask themselves who is actually demeaning our politics.”
Mr Rowley, who was suspended from the Labour group on November 15 and was off sick before that, said he has been committed to his regional constituents.
“I was off work with a chest infection for a period of three weeks and was taking medication prescribed by my doctor,” he said.
“Since then, I have been working in the regional constituency and using the time to bring myself up to date with key policy areas of my job.”
The former Fife Council leader said he was “fully cooperating” with the party investigation into the allegations from an ex-partner, “while continuing to work as a regional list MSP”.