Charles Kennedy dies, aged 55

Charles Kennedy, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, has died at his Scottish home aged 55.

No cause of death has been made public but police are not treating it as suspicious. His family has issued a statement, saying they were “devastated to lose a fine man and a loving father.”

Tributes have been pouring in to Mr. Kennedy, a greatly respected and widely popular man. He had been the leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1999-2006, leading them to their best election result since the 1920s in 2005, gaining 62 seats.

He was a staunch opponent of the Iraq war launched by former Prime Minister Tony Blair with the backing of the Tories. At the time, Mr. Kennedy faced great hostility within the House of Commons but stood by his convictions and opposed the invasion.

He was forced to resign the party leadership in 2006 due to problems with alcohol, ushering in the era of Nick Clegg. Mr. Kennedy did not approve of Clegg’s coalition with the Tories and believed they were giving up their place as the party of the centre-left and that they would pay the price.

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