Nicola Sturgeon has revealed how she and Charles Kennedy once watched the film Trainspotting together at a cinema in Melbourne in the 1990s.
Paying tribute to the former Liberal Democrat leader, who died aged 55 overnight, the First Minister of Scotland explained how the pair had shared laughs while watching the dark comedy drama of heroin addicts struggle with 1980s life in a deprived area of Edinburgh.
Ms Sturgeon and Mr Kennedy were political rivals, but spent time together on a political study trip to Australia in the mid-1990s. She revealed how the two of them had “skived off” during the trip to go to the cinema, where they enjoyed watching fellow cinema-goers struggle to understand the heavy Scottish dialect.
"I have some very fond personal memories of Charles,” she told an audience during a speech in Brussels.
“I had the privilege of spending some time with him on a political study visit that we made together to Australia in the mid-1990s.
"Perhaps my fondest memory from that visit - if perhaps a slightly bizarre memory - was of the two of us skiving off one day to watch Trainspotting in a Melbourne cinema.
"I think we were the only two Scots in the audience at that time, so we drew some very strange looks from other people as we were uproariously laughing at lots of jokes that nobody else in the cinema were even beginning to understand. That's a small, but very special memory that I certainly will always treasure."
Ms Sturgeon, who was making a speech in Brussels warning that Britain leaving the EU would create a “clamour” for a second Scottish independence referendum, gave a glowing tribute to Mr Kennedy. She said he would have been a “powerful voice” in the upcoming vote on EU membership.
She said: "Charles Kennedy was one of these rare people in politics. He was an incredibly talented, gifted, effective politician - I think one of the most talented politicians of his generation. And yet somehow he also managed to be universally liked across the political spectrum and indeed across wider society. That is no mean feat.
She said: "Charles Kennedy was a proud and passionate advocate of Europe and the UK's membership of the European Union.
"His would have been an incredibly powerful voice in the upcoming EU referendum, so for that reason but also for many, many other reasons, I think our country today is much poorer for the passing of Charles Kennedy.
"I am sure I am not the only one here today who wants to send thoughts and condolences to Charles's family, his friends and to his party colleagues."
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