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by Tom Freeman
02 June 2015
Charles Kennedy dies at 55

Charles Kennedy dies at 55

Former Liberal Democrat Leader Charles Kennedy Charles Kennedy has been found dead at his home in Fort William, according to his family.

The family said they were devastated to lose a "fine man and loving father". A spokesman for Police Scotland said: "There are no suspicious circumstances and our report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal."

Kennedy led the Liberal Democrats from 1999 to 2002, and spoke out against the war in Iraq and his party forming a coalition with the Conservatives.

Nick Clegg, who took over leadership of the party from Kennedy, said: "Charles Kennedy was one of the most gifted politicians of a generation, he always spoke with great humour, humility and courage."

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said she was proud to have known him. "Charles was a hugely well-respected and well-liked man. He was without doubt one of the towering political talents of his generation - a sharp debater, who deployed knowledge, experience and wit to wonderful effect," she said.

He was elected MP for Ross, Cromarty and Skye at only 23 for the newly formed Social Democratic Party, and after the party merged with the Liberals in 1988 held a number of front bench roles. After taking over the leadership from Paddy Ashdown in 1999 he led it to its best ever election result in 2005, in which it won 65 seats.

Despite a strong personal vote in his constituency, he lost the seat of Ross, Skye and Lochaber at last month's General Election as the SNP dominated the vote in Scotland. Conceding the seat, he said: "The greatest privilege of my public life over these past 32 years has to be being entrusted with the responsibility of representing this constituency. That is thanks to a generation and more of voters who have extended that trust to me and I hope, looking back over those 32 years, they will feel that it was trust well placed."

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