Charles Kennedy

British politician (1959-2015)

Charles Peter Kennedy (25 November 1959 – 1 June 2015) was a British politician.

Charles Kennedy
Kennedy in 2006
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
In office
9 August 1999 – 7 January 2006
DeputyMing Campbell
Alan Beith
Preceded byPaddy Ashdown
Succeeded byMing Campbell
Liberal Democrat Leader of the House of Commons
In office
1 May 1997 – 9 August 1999
LeaderPaddy Ashdown
Preceded byOffice created
Succeeded byAlan Beith
President of the Liberal Democrats
In office
1 January 1991 – 31 December 1994
LeaderPaddy Ashdown
Preceded byIan Wrigglesworth
Succeeded byRobert Maclennan
Member of Parliament
for Ross, Skye and Lochaber
Ross, Skye and Inverness West (1997–2005)
Ross, Cromarty and Skye (1983–1997)
In office
9 June 1983 – 7 May 2015
Preceded byConstituency created
Succeeded byIan Blackford
Personal details
Charles Peter Kennedy

(1959-11-25)25 November 1959
Inverness, Scotland
Died1 June 2015(2015-06-01) (aged 55)
Fort William, Scotland
Political partySocial Democratic (before 1988)
Liberal Democrats (After 1988)
Spouse(s)Sarah Gurling (2002–2010)
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow
WebsiteOfficial website

From 9 August 1999 until 7 January 2006, he was the leader of the Liberal Democrats, the third largest political party in the United Kingdom.

In the 1983 General Election he stood for the Ross, Cromarty & Skye constituency, then held by the Conservative MP and Minister, Hamish Gray. In a shock result, Kennedy was elected (for the SDP): at 23, he became the youngest MP in the House of Commons. Ambitious and popular, he quickly emerged as a potential party leader. In 1994, by which time the SDP and the Liberal Party had merged, he became President of the Liberal Democrats - a position he held for four years. In 1999, on the resignation of Paddy Ashdown, Kennedy was elected party leader.

He took the party through two General Elections. However, he faced criticism for his laid-back leadership style, and there was considerable speculation regarding his alcohol consumption. From December 2005, some within the party were questioning his leadership and calling for a leadership election. On 5 January 2006, Kennedy was informed that ITN would be reporting that he had received treatment for a drinking problem. Kennedy decided to pre-empt the broadcast and admit his drinking problem openly. He called a leadership election at the same time, stating that he intended to stand. The admission of a drinking problem seriously damaged his standing within the parliamentary party. As support for him amongst this key group ebbed away, Kennedy resigned as leader on 7 January, saying that he would not be standing in the leadership election. Deputy leader Sir Menzies Campbell took over as interim leader and was elected as leader on 2 March 2006.

Kennedy was born in Inverness, Scotland. He was married to Sarah Gurling from 2002 until they divorced in 2010 and has a son.

Kennedy died on 1 June 2015 at his home in Fort William from haemorrhage due to his alcoholism, aged 55.[1]