Leader’s tribute to Lib Dem stalwart

Howard Henshaw and Charles Kennedy
Howard Henshaw and Charles Kennedy
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A long-standing Fylde councillor has paid tribute to former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy, who died on Monday.

Howard Henshaw, former Liberal Democrat group leader of Fylde Council, says he was “very sad” to see Mr Kennedy had died.

Mr Kennedy died suddenly at his home in Fort William on Monday, aged 55.

Mr Henshaw said: “I got to know him quite well in 2003 when I was Fylde Council’s group leader, and had lots of meetings down in London with him.

“He was very charismatic and the media loved him, as he always had something good to say.

“He will be a big loss and a hard person to replace.”

Mr Kennedy, who was head of the party for more than six years, led the Liberal Democrats to their most successful election result in 2005 after winning a record 62 seats in parliament.

Mr Henshaw added: “Charles had some great 
ideas for the party, and when he made decisions he stood by them. But he was also very approachable and easy to talk to.”

Mr Henshaw believes Mr Kennedy’s lasting legacy in politics will be his decision to oppose the Iraq War.

At the time, Mr Kennedy was the only UK party leader to warn the country of the perils of invading Iraq.

Mr Henshaw said: “He was very brave to stand against both Labour and the Conservatives at the time but he has now been proved to be right, it will be a big part of his legacy.”

Mr Kennedy lost his seat in the Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency in last month’s general election after serving as an MP for 32 years.