This seems to me the worst of all possible developments. As I said in my comments on Susan Kramer's interview yesterday, the danger is that Kennedy will be re-elected by the wider membership yet continue not to be trusted by a large part of the parliamentary party. Such a position will not be sustainable and we shall be in a bigger mess than we are now
Liberal Democrat Charles Kennedy has called a leadership contest after admitting he has been battling with a drink problem.
He said he was determined to carry on as leader but wanted to give party members the "final say".
Mr Kennedy - who has previously denied a drink problem - admitted seeking "professional help" to beat the bottle.
What Kennedy should have done was to ask for a vote of confidence from the parliamentary party. Going to the country over the head of his colleagues looks like at attempt to disguise how weak his position with them has become.
Already it sounds as if none of the credible alternative candidates is going to stand. This means that the leadership election will not settle the other long-running problem with Kennedy's leadership: the lack of a clear strategy.
In our therapeutic state Kennedy's admission of his drink problem may even make him more popular with the public. But that will not give the party the sense of direction it currently lacks.