Charles Kennedy has several times denied having a drink problem. Here are some of the things he has said publicly on the issue before his admission that he had been battling alcoholism.
21 May, 2001: BBC NEWSNIGHT
Mr Kennedy was asked about his
reputation as someone with a "fondness for drink".
He said: "If you are
accusing me of being a fairly sociable person who likes most of the creature
comforts of life, the answer is yes, but don't allow that to disguise the fact
that I am fighting a vigorous and determined campaign on behalf of the Liberal
17 JULY, 2002: BBC NEWSNIGHT
Asked by Jeremy Paxman how much he drank, Mr Kennedy replied: "Moderately, socially, as you well know."
"You don't drink privately... by yourself, a bottle of scotch late at night?"
"No, I do not. No."
23 SEPTEMBER 2003
Mr Kennedy denied claims in The Sun newspaper that his
drinking habits were causing problems in the party.
He said: "I'm a sociable human being and that's been my way for the last 20
years in the House of Commons and I haven't changed.
"I think it would be a bit late to try to pretend that I had changed my
character and personality at this stage."
20 MARCH 2004
Following concerns about his health, Mr Kennedy said: "There is more exercise, there's no doubt about that. Alcohol is
next to zero, and I'm trying, although I cannot honestly look you in the eye and
say I've yet conquered Everest, but I'm trying to cut out the nicotine."
22 MARCH 2004: ITV NEWS
"I certainly do not have a drink
problem. I have always been a sociable person. And I am not about to change
But that is no impediment or interference with my life in general or
leadership in particular."
18 DECEMBER 2005: ITV'S JONATHAN DIMBLEBY PROGRAMME
Asked if he drank too much,
Mr Kennedy replied: "No. And if people have that concern, they should not have
that concern, you're sitting right next to me now, you can tell and you see me
prove regularly that I'm as healthy as healthy can be.
"But, equally as a public
figure and as a party leader, perception is extremely important. Now I can't
prove negatives, nobody can prove negatives in life, all I can do is demonstrate
that I'm on form, firing on all cylinders and up for the task in hand."
Asked if he was cutting back on alcohol, he said: "Yes, I'm actually an
extremely moderate and infrequent consumer of alcohol as a matter of fact."
When asked if it had been a "battle to stay off the booze" and whether he had any medical support at all, he said: "No, no, no, that is not
the case, it is a matter on all fronts - if there's something my doctor really
wants me to do over this holiday period as a matter of fact is give us smoking,
and I think he's right."
4 JANUARY 2005: BBC RADIO 4 TODAY PROGRAMME
Mr Kennedy dismissed claims he drank too much, saying: "If there's a perception about an anxiety on that front there needn't be."