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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 March 2006, 17:01 GMT
Support for new Lib Dems leader
Sir Menzies Campbell
Sir Menzies Campbell has been backed by Scots Lib Dems
Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has given full support to his successor, Sir Menzies Campbell.

Mr Kennedy, who quit the job earlier this year after admitting a drink problem, said Sir Menzies would provide a "strong leadership".

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Nicol Stephen also congratulated the North Fife MP on an "outstanding" victory.

He said the Lib Dem Dunfermline by-election triumph had shown it was a strong and united party.

Strong leadership

Mr Kennedy said: "We have got a strong leadership under Ming and he will have my full and enthusiastic and loyal support.

"There is a vitality within our party and there's an enthusiasm about our party.

"We have got a strong leadership as a result of the turnout and the clear-cut nature of the mandate."

The Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP insisted voters would be happy to see another Scot in charge of the party, adding: "I think it is the quality not the quantity that counts.

Mr Kennedy said that under Sir Menzies the party would continue on the course he had set.

All the candidates fought strong campaigns but clearly Menzies Campbell's qualities shone through

Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Nicol Stephen

He said: "I think the party, the centre of gravity of the party, philosophically and politically, is very clear. I don't think that is going to change much at all.

"The whole issue here is building on success. I am quite sure running up to the May local elections we can do that."

Mr Stephen said: "All the candidates fought strong campaigns but clearly Menzies Campbell's qualities shone through.

"The Dunfermline by-election triumph shows that he now leads a strong and united party which is set to grow."

'Outstanding MP'

He added: "Ming is not only a good friend but also an outstanding Scottish MP.

"This is a great result for the party in Scotland. I look forward to him joining me on the campaign trail as we gear up for the next Scottish Parliament election."

SNP leader Alex Salmond said Sir Menzies would "undoubtedly add gravitas" to the Lib Dems as party leader.

But he added: "In electing Ming, the Lib Dems have broken one of the golden rules of politics which is that he who wields the sword should not inherit the crown.

"Ming was instrumental in the downfall of Charles Kennedy and that fact may come back to haunt his own tenure of leadership."


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