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Charles Kennedy 'the best', says PM as Commons pay tribute

David Cameron said that at his best Charles Kennedy was the best that politics could be as he lead tributes to the former Liberal Democrat leader in the House of Commons.

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Kennedy death 'should remove drink problem stigma'

The death of Charles Kennedy should remove some of the stigma around alcohol addiction, one of the late politician's former rivals for Liberal Democrat leader has said.

Jackie Ballard stood against Mr Kennedy in the Lib Dem leadership contest in 1999. Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth / PA Archive

Jackie Ballard, who is now chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said Mr Kennedy's life and achievements should not be masked by his drink problem.

Let's not define Charles Kennedy by his alcoholism. That would be awful because he did so much with his life and he was so much more than that.

But if we can use it as a way to start conversations about alcohol so that other people can get help and treatment before they get to the point of being addicted, then that would be a positive thing.

– Jackie Ballard

Ms Ballard said Mr Kennedy's death at 55 showed how the disease can affect anyone.

Addiction to alcohol has no respect of status, income or anything else in life and too often people's impression of an alcoholic is somebody who is a street drinker or homeless.

There are 1.4 million people in this country who are dependent on alcohol and they are all around us. They are in our families, they are in our work places and tragically Charles was one of many.

– Jackie Ballard

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