Kennedy off duty for wife in labour

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Indy Politics

Charles Kennedy has shelved today's manifesto launch after his wife was taken to hospital in labour with their first child.

Charles Kennedy has shelved today's manifesto launch after his wife was taken to hospital in labour with their first child.

The Liberal Democrat leader cut short campaigning yesterday and rushed to London to be with his wife Sarah, who was nine months pregnant.

Mrs Kennedy is in an unnamed London hospital and a Liberal Democrat spokesman said yesterday that she was "fine".

The baby was not due until next week, and party staff were forced to draw up rapid contingency plans to replace today's manifesto launch with a press conference on the economy.

A plane-load of journalists was made to wait on the runway at Farnborough as Mr Kennedy spoke to his wife and decided to cut short the day's schedule.

Before Mrs Kennedy went into labour, Mr Kennedy said that he was "very nervous and apprehensive" about the birth.

But he has made it clear that his family would take priority during the campaign and that he plans to take some paternity leave. Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat deputy, will take over his schedule.

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