Thursday, January 05, 2006

Charles Kennedy admits being a drunk.

UK: Given some of the ideas the Lib Dems have thought up over the years, they may be others in the party. That said, good for Kennedy for admitting his problem after all the rumors and staying sober the last couple of months. Now, you got to go.

CHARLES KENNEDY last night launched a dramatic pre-emptive strike to keep his job as Liberal Democrat leader by admitting that he is being treated for alcoholism. In an emotional statement at the party’s headquarters Mr Kennedy asked party managers to trigger an immediate leadership election to end speculation about his future. In a challenge to his rebel MPs he declared: “It’s open, of course, to any colleague who believes they can better represent the longer-term interests of the party to stand against me in such a leadership election.” Last night two of the most serious contenders for the job appeared to rule out standing against him. Sir Menzies Campbell, the deputy leader and favourite to replace Mr Kennedy, announced that he would not stand, while Mark Oaten, the home affairs spokesman, who last month said he would stand if there was an election, also ruled himself out. The Times learnt last night that a delegation of senior MPs is considering a personal plea for Mr Kennedy to resign of his own accord to spare the party a damaging leadership election in the run-up to the local election campaign in May. One MP said: “It is unimaginable that he will stand. He is in no fit state.” Another senior unnamed Liberal Democrat was quoted as saying: “The man has gone bonkers.” Norman Lamb, the party’s trade and industry spokesman, said last night on the BBC’s Newsnight that Mr Kennedy’s confession had made things “very difficult”, adding: “In a sense it’s compromised us all.”
That said, if people want him to go, man up and say so. All this backstabbin makes everyone look foolish.

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