LibLink: Malcolm Bruce: The Commons Man

Malcolm Bruce has written, for Politics Home, a tribute to Charles Kennedy that gives quite an insight into their friendship and his parliamentary career as well as his life outside politics.

There are bits that will make you cry with sadness and bits that will make you absolutely howl with laughter. The accounts of their double dating exploits probably fits best in the latter category. You will want to click on the link to find out what “Frocks at Eight” means.

Here’s an extract:

From the start Charles had two contrasting lifestyles. In London he was at the centre of political debate, rarely out of the TV studios, speaking in Parliament and mixing with commentators, presenters and the leading lights in politics. He was in demand as a speaker and presenter of ideas.

Charles was a strong advocate of the merger of the Liberals and SDP, even though it meant leaving former colleagues behind. I remember welcoming his position and telling the last Liberal Assembly I could not imagine being in a party that did not have room for Charles Kennedy. Post-merger, Charles was relaxed to be described as a Liberal.

He appeared regularly on a radio programme with Julian Critchley and Austin Mitchell, giving a light-touch and irreverent view of day-to-day politics. The show became known as Mitch, Titch and Critch.

Back home, he was on the family croft at the foot of Ben Nevis and overlooking Loch Eck next to his parents’ house, where his father was a renowned player of the fiddle and his mother made sure Charles was never short of good food and home comforts. Sadly, he lost both his parents in the past two years. His father, who was in a nursing home, died at the start of the general election campaign.

For me, Charles was not just a colleague but a close friend. I was honoured when he agreed to be best man at my wedding in 1998, and then subsequently was godfather to my daughter. He presented a case of champagne for her head wetting, saying it was the only spiritual guidance she was going to get from him.

Now, go and read the whole thing. You will be glad you did.

* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary published in print or online.

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