Charles Kennedy's Electoral History

Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has died. As a tribute to his contribution to politics we will look at the electoral record of Charles Kennedy.

Charles Kennedy was elected in 1983 as the MP for the Ross, Cromarty and Skye constituency with a small majority of 1,704 over the former Conservative MP Hamish Gray. He was one of the few SDP representatives elected that year. In 1987 he benefited from the collapse of the Conservatives in Scotland and managed to induce a swing of 12.5% against the Conservatives and win with a majority of 11,319. Kennedy supported the somewhat controversial merger of the SDP and the Liberal Party, both of which had been operating as the SDP-Liberal Alliance. He defended his seat in 1992 as a Liberal Democrat despite a national reduction in Liberal Democrat support.

In 1997 he moved to the newly created Ross, Skye and Inverness West constituency. He held on despite strong Labour opposition. Following the retirement of Paddy Ashdown, Kennedy was elected leader of the Liberal Democrats. Under his leadership the Liberal Democrats improved on their position in 2001 by returning 52 MPs. Subsequently the Liberal Democrats found increased support from their opposition to the war in Iraq. Kennedy lead the Liberal Democrats into the 2005 election and went on to win 62 seats, the largest number for a third party since 1923 and the largest number the Liberal Democrats have won to date.

In 2006 it was publicly announced that Kennedy had received treatment for alcoholism. He resigned as leader as pressure grew from within his party, although he remained active in backbench politics. In 2010 he was elected again, this time with a majority of 13,070. Kennedy voted against the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, instead favouring a confidence and supply arrangement. His final electoral battle was in 2015 where, in the wake of the national Liberal Democrat decline and the SNP surge, he was defeated.
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