The death of Charles Kennedy came as a great shock. He will be much missed. He spent the whole of his working life as an MP and I knew him for most of his years in Parliament. He was not only a distinguished politician, but also a great House of Commons man. He took the institution seriously. This rather distinguished him from Tony Blair when he was Prime Minister. Charles once told me that whenever he met Blair and raised the issue of parliamentary reform ‘his eyes just glazed over’.
I remember him especially because of his kind words about me, and the report of the Commission to Strengthen Parliament, which I chaired, when the House debated it in July 2000. (I was going to reproduce his comments, but decided not to as it would be more about me than him.) His generous speech was typical of the man. He was thoughtful with no side. He was also good company. There was also a Hull link. He married a Hull graduate, to whom he had been introduced by her brother, a Hull politics graduate. He is a great loss to British public life.