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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 January 2006, 10:33 GMT
Lib Dem Lord's alcohol confession
Lord McNally
Lord McNally said he was alcohol dependent between 1982 and 1985
The leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords has admitted for the first time that he was an alcoholic.

Lord McNally's admission comes weeks after Charles Kennedy quit as Lib Dem leader over alcohol addiction.

A Labour MP in the 1970s and 1980s, the peer was also a press secretary to former prime minister James Callaghan.

Lord McNally told BBC Radio Four's Under the Influence programme he "deeply regretted the wasted years, the wasted time, the wasted money".

"When I do look back to the 60s and 70s and I think of my drinking companions, a disturbingly large number - from politics, from journalism, from business - are now dead."

'Better governance'

Lord McNally said he did not regret the apparent passing of alcohol-fuelled politics.

Charles Kennedy
Charles Kennedy quit two days after his alcohol revelations

He said: "I don't think the passing of a more boozy ill-disciplined, ill-researched type of politics is to be regretted at all.

"I think decisions being made by sober ministers and checked by sober parliamentarians is at least a hope of better governance."

The peer admitted to being alcohol dependent between 1982 and 1985 but said he was "certainly not alcohol dependent" when he was Mr Callaghan's press secretary from 1976 to 1979.

Charles Kennedy quit as Lib Dem leader on 7 January, saying he did not have the support of enough MPs.

The party is now engaged in a leadership race, with acting leader Sir Menzies Campbell facing Chris Huhne and Simon Hughes they are the remaining candidates after Mark Oaten withdrew.

Under the Influence is broadcast on Saturday, 21 January, at 1630 GMT.

The Charles Kennedy story
09 Jan 06 |  UK Politics
Embattled Kennedy quits as leader
07 Jan 06 |  UK Politics

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