Local Politicians Join Tributes To Charles Kennedy

Ealing Liberal Democrats saddened by death of former leader

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Ealing Liberal Democrats have joined tributes paid to their former party Leader, Charles Kennedy, who has died at the age of 55

A highly popular parliamentarian, Mr Kennedy became the youngest MP in 1983 when, at the age of 23, he won the Ross, Cromarty and Skye seat.

He went on to lead his party from 1999 but in January 2006 said he had been receiving treatment for an alcohol problem and resigned as leader.

He lost his seat in last month's elections.

Mr Kennedy's family said in a statement:

"It is with great sadness, and an enormous sense of shock, that we announce the death of Charles Kennedy.

"We are obviously devastated at the loss. Charles was a fine man, a talented politician, and a loving father to his young son."

Nick Clegg , who resigned as Liberal Democrat leader last month, said that on a good day Mr Kennedy had had "more political talent in his little finger than the rest of us put together".

"Charles devoted his life to public service, yet he had an unusual gift for speaking about politics with humour and humility which touched people well beyond the world of politics," he said.

"He was one of the most gentle and unflappable politicians I have ever known, yet he was immensely courageous too not least when he spoke for the country against the invasion of Iraq."

Ealing's Lib Dem group, Councillor Gray Malcolm, remembers Mr Kennedy's visit to the area:

'' This morning hearing that Charles Kennedy has passed away, humbled and shocked me. Charles was such as down to earth fella. In 2005, relatively new to politics I asked if Charles could visit Acton and was delighted when he said yes.

''I saw first-hand what a wonderful person he was. Charles dealt with so many difficult questions from the residents of the South Acton Estate so well - giving them proper answers whilst managing to show how that politicians need to engage and interact with their audience. I learned quickly from this experience that politicians work FOR people, not the other way around.

''Charles was liked by people across different political parties and he was often the perfect judge of when a serious comment was needed as well as when the ice needed breaking with a light hearted comment. His comments on serious matters like the Iraq war still are so appropriate.

''His passing is a very sad day but I take away the great time he had on earth. We all must make the best of the time we have and give what we can help others. Rest In Peace Charles."



2nd June 2015