A Highland MSP has opened up about his problem drinking following the death of former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy.
Dave Thompson admitted he had suffered from an “unhealthy” relationship with alcohol and was a “habitual heavy drinker”.
The Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch SNP MSP has now been teetotal for 15 years.
He said his life had turned around since he embraced Christianity and blamed the heavy drinking culture of the north and north-east of Scotland for his own issues.
Mr Thompson, who lives in Inverness and spent his early years in Moray, said he had decided to raise his experiences after Mr Kennedy was found dead at his home at Caol, Fort William, last Monday.
Mr Thompson, 65, said: “Drink creeps up on people, it is an illness and very gradually takes hold of you.
“I took the decision to stop drinking after I became a Christian.
“I was helped greatly and would say without hesitation that, if it was not for God, I would probably still be drinking – it was the best thing that I have ever done and it has changed my life.”
Mr Thompson said he had stopped drinking by the time he was first elected in 2007, initially as a list MSP, before taking on the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency.
Now a member of Kinmylies Church of Scotland in the Highland capital, he recently announced his intention to stand down at next year’s Scottish elections.
• Full story at the Aberdeen Press & Journal.