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by Tom Freeman
03 June 2015
Charles Kennedy Commons tribute witnessed by family

Charles Kennedy Commons tribute witnessed by family

Charles Kennedy’s son Donald and former wife Sarah were among those watching an emotional cross-party tribute held today in the House of Commons, after the former Liberal Democrat leader died at his Highlands home on Monday.

A tearful John Bercow said “Charles was the boy next door of British public life. We salute him, we honour his memory and we send today our sincere, heartfelt and deepest condolences to his family and his friends.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said Kennedy would be remembered for “his principle and intellect and above all for his incredible warmth and good humour,” while acting Labour leader Harriet Harman called him “the golden boy from the Highlands”.


Charles Kennedy dies at 55

In a heartfelt tribute, outgoing Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg called Kennedy “brave yet vulnerable”, putting people before politics.

“And, Mr Speaker, he was funny. Very funny. But his good humour must not obscure the fact that there was a steely courage about him, most memorably on display when he took the principled decision to oppose the Iraq War. Just because that may seem an obvious thing to do now, it was not at the time,” he said.

Clegg said Kennedy would have campaigned fiercely to remain part of the European Union during the upcoming referendum on the subject next year.

“There is so much I will miss about Charles - his wit, warmth and modesty - but I suspect many of us will feel his absence most keenly when our country decides in the next year or two whether we belong or not in the European Union. Because of all his convictions, his internationalism endured most strongly.”

He added: “British politics has lost one of its best storytellers... Mr speaker if we could carry ourselves with a bit more of the wit, wisdom and humility of Charles Kennedy politics would be held in much higher esteem than it is today.”

The SNP’s Ian Blackford, who won the Ross, Skye and Lochaber seat from Kennedy last month said the result had not been a reflection on the man but “truly the national tide” which had led to his defeat. “I deeply regret the passing of this extremely talented man. Rest in peace,” he said.

A number of MPs spoke directly to Kennedy’s son, including Liberal Democrat leadership contender Tim Farron, who turned to the gallery during his tribute. “Donald you should be really proud of your daddy,” he said. “I'm really proud of your daddy. I loved him to bits.”

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