Michael Moore pays tribute to Charles Kennedy

Former Roxburgh and Berwickshire MP Archy Kirkwood (now Lord Kirkwood), Charles Kennedy and Michael Moore in 2001 when Mr Kennedy was leader  of the Liberal Democrats
Former Roxburgh and Berwickshire MP Archy Kirkwood (now Lord Kirkwood), Charles Kennedy and Michael Moore in 2001 when Mr Kennedy was leader of the Liberal Democrats

Michael Moore has paid tributes to his friend and former parliamentary colleague Charles Kennedy who died on Monday, aged 55.

“He was a wonderful human being, full of kindness, warmth and humanity,” said Mr Moore of the man who led the party from 1999 until his resignation in 2006.

I could not have asked for a better colleague: someone who really understood the responsibility and privilege of representing a rural seat in Scotland.

Michael Moore

“We always had a strong bond, not least because of the kind of constituencies we represented,” added Mr Moore, the recently deposed Lib Dem MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, .

“I first met Charlie when the Scottish Grand Committee, which at that time comprised all 72 Scottish MPs, came to Selkirk in 1997.

“I was a rookie candidate, recently selected to fight Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale and attempting to succeed David Steel, and Charlie, just five years older than me but already an MP since 1983, made a point of taking me aside.

“He was so warm and supportive, telling me with that twinkle on his eye that, while I may be headed for Westminster, I should always keep my home base secure.

“He was a welcoming and reassuring friend when I did get elected later that year and, throughout the next 18 years, he never changed. He always treated people on equal terms, no matter how successful, and that was his great gift.

“And he was a great party leader although his congeniality and relaxed manner was often misinterpreted.

“Anyone who witnessed his impassioned public stand against the Iraq War could see his leadership strengths and it should be remembered he led the party in two general elections, increasing our strength from 46 to 62 MPS.

“I could not have asked for a better colleague: someone who really understood the responsibility and privilege of representing a rural seat in Scotland.

“On one visit to the Borders for a speaking engagement, Charlie asked me to take him to see the Bear Gates at Innerleithen which, at that time, was in my constituency.

“As a proud Highlander he was fascinated to see this great symbol of the Jacobite movement. He loved the Borders and always said how lucky we both were to represent such beautiful, historic areas.

“Charlie had a genuine interest in everything and everyone and his passing at such a young age is a great tragedy. He was, indeed, one of a kind.”