Charles Kennedy resigns

CHARLES Kennedy has today resigned as Liberal Democrat leader, two days after admitting a drink problem.Mr Kennedy said the support he had received from activists and the public had not been matched among his own MPs.

CHARLES Kennedy has today resigned as Liberal Democrat leader, two days after admitting a drink problem.

Mr Kennedy said the support he had received from activists and the public had not been matched among his own MPs.

Speaking at the party's Westminster HQ, he bowed out of the leadership contest he called when he was forced into a public confession on Thursday night.

He said: “In all this, the interests of our party have to come first. That is where my personal, my political and my constitutional duty lies.


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“So accordingly I'm announcing today that when nominations do open for the leadership of the party I will not be putting my name forward. I am standing down as leader with immediate effect.”

His statement came amid signs that activists as well as MPs had lost confidence in him.

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Twenty five MPs issued a public ultimatum to him to stand down by Monday, or face mass frontbench resignations.

Mr Kennedy attempted to hang on, insisting he retained the “overwhelming” support of the party grassroots.

However, a preliminary opinion poll showed 65per cent of party members wanted him replaced.

Veteran Lib Dem MP and deputy leader Sir Menzies Campbell is favourite to succeed Mr Kennedy.

Strong challenges can also be expected from party president Simon Hughes and home affairs spokesman Mark Oaten, who were both at the party's Cowley Street HQ to hear the statement.

For full story and reaction from Suffolk Liberal Democrats see Monday's Evening Star.

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