Former Berwick MP reflects on ‘huge loss to public life’

Charles Kennedy congratulating Alan Beith on 30 years in Parliament in November 2003.
Charles Kennedy congratulating Alan Beith on 30 years in Parliament in November 2003.

Lib Dem Sir Alan Beith, who stood down as MP for Berwick this year after serving since 1973, has paid tribute to his party colleague Charles Kennedy, who died yesterday.

Mr Kennedy was leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1999 to 2006, during which the party secured its best General Election result, winning 62 seats in 2005. Sir Alan was the party’s deputy leader for the majority of Mr Kennedy’s leadership, during his tenure from 1992 to 2003.

In November 2003, Mr Kennedy was the guest speaker at a special event in Alnwick to mark Sir Alan’s 30 years in Parliament.

Sir Alan said: “Charles Kennedy is a huge loss to public life – he had a rare ability to win the confidence of people who distrust politics, he led the Liberal Democrats in our most successful election results ever, and he showed wisdom and courage in his opposition to the Iraq war and his commitment to Britain’s place in Europe. We will miss him also as a good and often very entertaining friend.”

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