Paddy Ashdown

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The Right Honourable
Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon

GCMG KBE PC
High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina
In office
27 May 2002 – 30 May 2006
Preceded by Wolfgang Petritsch
Succeeded by Christian Schwarz-Schilling
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
In office
16 July 1988 – 11 August 1999
Preceded by David Steel (Liberal Party)
Robert Maclennan (SDP)
Succeeded by Charles Kennedy
Member of Parliament
for Yeovil
In office
9 June 1983 – 7 June 2001
Preceded by John Peyton
Succeeded by David Laws
Personal details
Born Jeremy John Durham Ashdown
27 February 1941 (1941-02-27) (age 73)
New Delhi, British India
Nationality British
Political party (1) Liberal Party
(2) Liberal Democrats
Spouse(s) Jane Courtenay (m. 1962-present)
Children Son and daughter
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Marines
Years of service 1959–1972
Unit Special Boat Service
Battles/wars Indonesian Confrontation

Jeremy John Durham 'Paddy' Ashdown, Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon (born 27 February 1941 in New Delhi, British India[1]) is a British politician and international diplomat. He was the leader of the Liberal Democrats from July 1988 to August 1999.

Paddy Ashdown was brought up in Northern Ireland[2] and his Irish accent brought him the nickname 'Paddy'. He served in the Royal Marines from 1959 to 1972 and saw fighting in Borneo, Hong Kong and Northern Ireland. At the 1983 General Election, Paddy Ashdown became the Liberal Party Member of Parliament for the constituency of Yeovil. In 1988, when the Liberal Party merged with the Social Democratic Party to form the Liberal Democrats, Ashdown was elected the leader of the new party and led the party through the 1992 and 1997 General Elections. He resigned in 1999[3] and was given both a knighthood and a seat in the House of Lords. In the House of Lords, he was given the name Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon. From 2002 to 2006 he was the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

His reputation was damaged slightly in 1992, when it was revealed that he had a five-month extra-marital affair with his secretary[4] and many British newspapers exposed this in great detail. The Sun newspaper ran a famous headline which played on Ashdown's name, calling him 'Paddy Pants-Down'.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Curriculum Vitae: Paddy Ashdown". Office of the High Representative (OHR) and EU Special Representative (EUSR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 27 May 2002. http://www.ohr.int/ohr-info/hrs-dhrs/default.asp?content_id=28051. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  2. Jonathan Sale (18 October 2001). "An education in the life of Lord Ashdown: 'I was bullied early on, but then I learnt to fight'". The Independent (London). http://news.independent.co.uk/people/profiles/article162427.ece. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  3. "Ashdown to quit as leader". BBC News. 20 January 1999. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/259260.stm.
  4. Lucy Ward (21 January 1999). "End of the Ashdown era". The Guardian (London). http://politics.guardian.co.uk/libdems/story/0,9061,446036,00.html. Retrieved 22 November 2007.