Charles Kennedy: Lib Dems, Labour and Tories unite to pay tribute

 
Joe Hall
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Charles Kennedy died in his Scottish home (Source: Getty)

Tributes and respects for Charles Kennedy, the former Liberal Democrat leader, have poured in from across the UK's political landscape this morning following his death at 55 years old.

Below we've gathered what leaders from across the political spectrum remember about Kennedy:

Read more: Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy dies aged 55

Liberal Democrat tributes

Former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg:

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.


Nick Clegg said Kennedy was one of the most gifted politicians in a generation (Source: Getty)

Kennedy's predecessor as leader, Paddy Ashdown:

In a political age not overburdened with gaiety and good sense, he brought us wit, charm, judgement, principle and decency.

Former Lib Dem Sir Menzies Campbell:

He was regarded by the public as not like other politicians because of his distaste for adversarial politics. That strengthened his appeal as well as giving rise to a deep respect.

Lib Dem MP Tim Farron:

I think it had been difficult for him - he was somebody who was a towering figure even from an early age. The Liberal Democrats wouldn't have existed without Charles Kennedy.

It was his oratory, his persuasive way of speaking, that meant he was able to bring people who weren't sure about that merger [the SDP and the Liberals] and make sure it actually happened.

His like will not be seen again. We can all learn from him to take people seriously, not just as electoral units.


Kennedy with other former Lib Dem leaders (Source: Getty)

Labour tributes

Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman:

He was someone who fought for social justice and brought courage, wit and humour to everything he did.

Alastair Campbell, director of communications for Tony Blair during Kennedy's leadership:

He was great company, sober or drinking. He had a fine political mind and a real commitment to public service. He was not bitter about his ousting as leader and nor, though he disagreed often with what his Party did in coalition with the Tories, did he ever wander down the rentaquote oppositionitis route. He was a man of real talent and real principle.

Tony Blair:

Charles' death is an absolute tragedy. He came into Parliament at the same time as me in 1983. He was throughout his time a lovely, genuine and deeply committed public servant. As leader of the Liberal Democrats, we worked closely together and he was always great company, with a lively and inventive mind. I am very saddened by this news.


Kennedy opposed Tony Blair's decision to go to war in Iraq (Source: Getty)

Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott:

Ed Miliband:

Charles Kennedy was a principled, decent man who stood up for what he believed. His death is a tragic loss. My heart goes out to his family.

Andy Burnham:

Politics always seems to lose the people it needs most. Charles Kennedy was warm, generous, genuine and principled. Will miss him greatly.

Former MP Douglas Alexander:

Conservative tributes

Prime Minister twitter.com/David_Cameron/status/605637504709079040">David Cameron:

I'm deeply saddened by the death of Charles Kennedy. He was a talented politician who has died too young. My thoughts are with his family.

Iain Duncan Smith, leader of the Conservatives during Kennedy's leadership:

For me and for many others he was a good friend - he was a courteous friend and adversary and always good humoured at the most difficult times. I know I personally will miss him a lot.

MP Sir Eric Pickles:

Former foreign secretary William Hague:

Very saddened to hear about the death of Charles Kennedy: a devoted public servant, a gifted Parliamentarian, and a man of great warmth.

Green tributes

Leader Natalie Bennett:

SNP tributes

First minister Nicola Sturgeon:

Sad beyond words to hear the news about Charlie Kennedy. A lovely man and one of the most talented politicians of his time. Gone too soon.

John Swinney:

Terribly sad news about Charles Kennedy. A distinguished, generous, warm and immensely talented Highlander. My prayers with his family.

SNP Europe minister Humza Yousef:

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