Charles Kennedy is one of the UK most popular MPs whose knowledge spans business and politics and has made him one of the most sought-after keynote and after dinner speakers, renowned for his charm and intelligence.
An established broadcaster who presents a regular parliamentary sketch show on the BBC World Service, as well as occasional slots on Radio 2 and Radio 4, Charles also appears as a guest on current affairs and entertainment programmes, including Have I Got News for You!; Through the Keyhole and Masterchef.
Born and bred in Fort William, and a Glasgow University graduate, Charles’ career began with the BBC Highland Unit, before he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to attend Indiana University in the US. It was during his time there, in 1983, that the SDP nomination for the newly former Ross, Cromarty and Skye seat became an option.
After winning the ballot, he returned to the UK and in less than six weeks he was elected to the House of Commons, defeating the sitting Government Minister and becoming the youngest MP at the time.
His time in parliament was spent speaking out on a variety of issues including agriculture and rural affairs; Europe and welfare.
He served on the All-Party Select Committee that introduced TV broadcasting of the chamber and became the first SDP MP to back the merger with the Liberals after the 1987 general election.
Elected President of the Liberal Democrats' Party in 1990, Charles was made party leader and appointed to the Privy Council in October 1999.
Standing down in 2006 after seeing the Lib Dems in their most successful election performance for roughly 80 years, Charles was unanimously elected President of the European Movement in Britain. Following a competitive election, he was elected as Rector of Glasgow University early in 2008.
Charles continues to be a prominent figure in British public life and is Member of Parliament for the Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency.
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Copyright Speakers Corner 2014