Saturday, January 07, 2006

Charles Kennedy quits, what about the others?

UK: He quits since he was in a bad position to begin with, but the others that knew, kept it a secret, allowed a drunk to go on the campaign trail and then turned around to stab him in the back when needed. It had to be more than a handful of people.

Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy resigned, two days after saying he had an alcohol problem, triggering a battle for control of Britain's third- largest political party. Kennedy, 46, had been under mounting pressure from colleagues after saying he had the drinking problem. Twenty-seven of the party's 63 members of parliament, including almost half the shadow cabinet, urged Kennedy to quit in letters yesterday. ``The interests of the party have got to come first,'' Kennedy told reporters at party headquarters in London. ``It's essential that we have a new democratically elected leader in place as soon as possible.'' He said he had lost the support of the Liberal Democrat's parliamentary delegation, although he had been ``inundated'' by supportive messages from ordinary members of the party in the last two days. The move plunges the party into a leadership contest that may highlight divisions between those who want to increase state spending on health and education and others demanding smaller government and spending curbs. Kennedy has been under growing attack from Liberal Democrats fearing losses in local elections in May to the main opposition Conservatives, whose popularity has soared since David Cameron, 39, was elected Tory leader Dec. 6.

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