Isabel Hardman

Former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy dies aged 55

Former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy dies aged 55
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Charles Kennedy, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, has died at his home in Fort William aged 55.

His family released this statement this morning:

‘It is with great sadness, and an enormous sense of shock, that we announce the death of Charles Kennedy. Charles died at home in Fort William yesterday. He was 55. We are obviously devastated at the loss.

‘Charles was a fine man, a talented politician, and a loving father to his young son. We ask therefore that the privacy of his family is respected in the coming days.

‘There will be a post-mortem and we will issue a further statement when funeral arrangements are made.’

Nick Clegg said his colleague was 'one of the most gifted politicians of his generation'.

The police said there were no suspicious circumstances.

Kennedy lost his seat to the SNP on 7 May, and gave one of the most generous concession speeches of the night, referring to a ‘night of the long skean dhus’, making specific references to the members of staff who had also lost their jobs that night. He had also lost his father in April, and had taken a few days off from campaigning following that bereavement.

He was elected SDP MP for Ross, Cromarty and Skye in the 1983 general election, and led the Liberal Democrats from 1999 to 2006.

He was well-respected in Westminster as one of the brightest of politicians, and anyone who worked with or encountered him will also remember him as one of the kindest and friendliest in SW1 too.