Hartlepool politicians pay tribute to ‘principled’ Charles Kennedy

Former Liberal Democrats Leader Charles Kennedy
Former Liberal Democrats Leader Charles Kennedy

Hartlepool politicians have paid tribute to Charles Kennedy.

The former Liberal Democrat leader was found dead at home on Monday.

He was a very likeable and personable as far as I was concerned. He had the gift of connecting with people.

Former councillor Arthur Preece

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright said: “He was always an excellent Parliamentarian.

“He was in the House for the best part of 32 years and made an enormous difference.

“For anyone to die at such a young age is such a tragedy.”

Former Lib Dem leader on Hartlepool Borough Council Arthur Preece worked with Mr Kennedy before he became party leader.

“I knew Charles quite well,” he said. “While he was the Liberal health spokesman, I was actually assisting him on a voluntary basis.

“He was very likeable and personable as far as I was concerned.

“He had the gift of connecting with people.

“And he was a principled politician – he was the only party leader who actually opposed the Iraq war.”

News of Mr Kennedy’s death united politicians from all sides of the Commons.

His successor as Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, said Mr Kennedy’s death “robs Britain of one of the most gifted politicians of his generation”, while Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “deeply saddened” by the loss of a man he described as “a talented politician who has died too young”.

Police were called to Mr Kennedy’s home in Fort William on Monday, after being alerted by the ambulance service.

It is understood that the politician’s body was found in the house by a friend. His death is not thought to be suspicious.