Both political friends and foes have paid tribute to Charles Kennedy, the former Liberal Democrat leader who died yesterday. He was a larger than life figure in Westminster known for his flair for witty, intelligent and incisive public speaking.
Douglas Alexander, who also lost his seat to the SNP last month, led tributes from Labour:
Bereft at news of Charles Kennedy. He was a warm, decent & generous Scot. Our politics and our national life is a lot poorer this morning.
— Douglas Alexander (@Douglas4Paisley) June 2, 2015
Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, described herself as “sad beyond words” about his death at just 55-years-old:
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. — Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) June 2, 2015
Some remembered his superb political one-liners:
Best Charlie Kennedy quote: “Paddy Ashdown is the only party leader who’s a trained killer.Though, to be fair, Mrs Thatcher was self taught”
— Red Labour (@red_labour) June 2, 2015
The Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, marked the occasion by making an unusally sensible comment:
Very sad to hear about death of Charles Kennedy – he deserves to be remembered foremost for his judgement & principles opposing the Iraq War — Natalie Bennett (@natalieben) June 2, 2015
The Liberal Democrats opened a book of condolence to the man who was once Britain’s youngest MP:
We will be sending all entries from Charles Kennedy’s book of condolence to his family. Please do write in it. http://t.co/r3eRRycMjv
— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) June 2, 2015
Ian Blackford, who beat him in Ross, Skye & Lochaber, said:
“He was a bright, articulate and gregarious man and it is so sad that he has been taken at such a young age.
“Charles was a very kind, decent and honest man. I have known him for a long time, and I will remember him as someone that could rise above party politics.
“I recall election night in 1999 – not a good night for the SNP, but Charles showed tremendous kindness and support that evening. I will never forget that.”
Less notable were the words of Alex Salmond who was widely attacked for claiming Kennedy’s heart was not really in the Better Together campaign. It was widely seen as an attempt to make it appear Kennedy had secret sympathies for Scottish Independence.
The Daily Telegraph report him as saying: “Yes, he was an extremely generous human being. I have had one or two, but not many, people who had a bad word to say about Charles, and that’s very rare in politics. In terms of the independence referendum, I don’t think his heart was in the ‘Better Together’ campaign.
“His heart would have been in a pro-European campaign, that’s a campaign that Charles would have engaged in heart and soul. That is something he absolutely believed in.”
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, was much more formal:
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. — David Cameron (@David_Cameron) June 2, 2015
As was the former Labour Leader, 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.
— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) June 2, 2015
His Alma Mater, Glasgow University, posted some photos from his remarkable life:
— Glasgow University (@GlasgowUni) June 2, 2015