Charles Kennedy

1959 - 2015

Charles Kennedy
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Charles Kennedy

Politician. Born in Inverness, Kennedy was brought up in Fort William, where he was educated at Lochaber High School. He read politics and philosophy at the University of Glasgow, where he was a successful debater. After working as a journalist for BBC Highland in Inverness, he returned to higher education at Indiana University (USA).

Kennedy became the youngest Member of Parliament when he was elected to represent Ross, Cromarty and Skye for the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1983. He continued to find success in the Liberal-Democratic party, following the merger of his party with the Liberals, becoming their President between 1990 and 1994. Following boundary changes, his constituency became Ross, Skye and Inverness West in 1997. Charles Kennedy was elected Leader of the Liberal-Democrat Party in 1999 and opposed the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003.

In 2005, Kennedy led his party to its greatest electoral success since the 1920s, with 62 seats, but the following year admitted to an 'alcohol problem' and was forced out as leader, to be replaced by Menzies Campbell. He served as Rector of the University of Glasgow (2008-14) and lost his Parliamentary seat spectacularly in the Scottish National Party landslide which took place in the General Election of 2015. He died at home in Fort William barely four weeks later and was buried at Clunes Cemetery next to his parents. Kennedy is remembered as a genuine, jovial and talented politician.

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