Lib Dems reflect on Kennedy bombshell

LIBERAL Democrats in Suffolk were today taking stock of Charles Kennedy's announcement that he had a drink problem - and were urging party leaders to use the weekend to decide what to do next.

LIBERAL Democrats in Suffolk were today taking stock of Charles Kennedy's announcement that he had a drink problem - and were urging party leaders to use the weekend to decide what to do next.

Baroness Ros Scott of Needham Market, who is a Liberal Democrat front-bencher in the House of Lords and a former Suffolk County Councillor, said members of the parliamentary party should take stock of the situation before returning to Westminster next week.

She said: “There are clearly problems between Charles and the parliamentary party and these need to be resolved.

“We need to get these issues thrashed out among ourselves at Westminster. What hasn't been good for the party is the way the attacks on the leadership have been launched through the media over the last eight weeks or so.

“I think now it is clear that something has to be resolved very quickly so we can get down to normal political work - for the last few months every time we have tried to do anything it has got wrapped up with the leadership question.”

Baroness Scott said: “I don't know whether he will stay as leader - I'm not a mystic - but it is important that we move on to talk about policy and not be too hung up over the leadership.”

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Richard Atkins, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Ipswich council, said: "I am glad on a personal level that Charles Kennedy has acknowledged the problem. That is a major part of the battle for him.

"It is quite possible for people who are ill in this way to recover, get treatment and continue working - I really hope he continues with his recovery for his own sake and that of his family.”

And Liberal Democrat borough and county councillor Inga Lockington said it was very courageous of Mr Kennedy to admit to having a drink problem.

She said: “That is a major step for anyone to make - but now the party needs to use the weekend to see where we go from here.”

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