SIR, Charles Kennedy was a class act and it’s difficult to pen a fitting tribute to this fine man.

Professionally, he will be remembered not only for his integrity, humanity and charismatic quick wit, but also for his immense impact on UK politics. As leader of the party, he showed unrivalled strength of character and integrity when he stood up against the invasion of Iraq. He made Liberal Democrats proud to stand up for what is right. The world of politics will be much poorer for the absence of his sharp, incisive mind and expert debating skills.

Personally, I will miss him very much. Charles’s passing is a devastating loss to the Liberal Democrat family, and he will always be remembered as a loving and devoted father to his son, Donald. Perhaps only time will tell what his legacy will be, however for me, it will be a lasting reminder of two things; how politics should be conducted and what liberalism is.

Famously, he was the only Liberal Democrat MP who voted against the coalition. Another brave and principled move. I know that Charles would not have taken the decision to go against his colleagues lightly and indeed he did so with the thoughtful dignity and professionalism which gained him the respect of his peers across all of the political benches.

I’ll always be proud of the policies my MP colleagues achieved over the last five years; after all, we got money back into the pockets of low earners, and we held the tories back from doing their worst on civil liberties and welfare reform. But I cannot deny that the party I love has suffered at the hands of the unpopular coalition.

We’re now free from the heavy shackles of that troubling union and maybe that gives us an opportunity to shine as the only liberal voice between an illiberal, SNP majority that wants to interfere with our civil liberties and an even more illiberal tory majority in Westminster that wants to get rid of human rights laws. Both, incidentally, risking our place in Europe.

A year in politics is a long time and I hope with all my heart that we see our fortunes improve as we approach the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2016. In the end though, I know that we can hold our heads high if we build the 2016 campaign around fierce liberal values. Maybe that alone would be a fitting tribute to Charles.

I am, etc.

Jim Hume MSP Liberal Democrat Member for South Scotland