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Last Updated: Friday, 6 January 2006, 10:56 GMT
In quotes: Kennedy on drink
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 Democrats."

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 that.

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."




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