British Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has dramatically admitted having had an alcohol problem. On Thursday he called a press conference to admit seeking “professional help” to beat the bottle.
Kennedy also threw his party leadership into question by calling for any internal critics to come forward and stand against him.
He said: “Given my statement today I believe it is only fair now to give our party members their say over the continuing leadership. It is open to any colleague who believes that they can better represent the longer-term interests of the party to stand against me in such a leadership election.”
Kennedy had faced growing calls to quit as leader with 11 frontbenchers saying they had lost confidence in him.
However it may be that no-one tries to topple him, as he is well-liked by the public and seen as a vote-winner. Moreover, there are important local elections in May where Liberal Democrats traditionally look to do well. They cannot afford to be divided and lacking leadership at such a time.