Paddy Ashdown

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The Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon

Official portrait of Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon crop 2.jpg
Chair of the Liberal Democrat General Election Committee
In office
26 September 2012 – 7 May 2015
LeaderNick Clegg
Preceded byWillie Rennie (2010, Campaigns and Communications Chair)
Succeeded byGreg Mulholland (Campaigns and Communications Chair)
High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina
In office
27 May 2002 – 30 May 2006
Preceded byWolfgang Petritsch
Succeeded byChristian Schwarz-Schilling
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
In office
16 July 1988 – 11 August 1999
DeputyRussell Johnston
Alan Beith
PresidentIan Wrigglesworth
Charles Kennedy
Robert Maclennan
Baroness Maddock
Preceded byDavid Steel (Liberal Party)
Robert Maclennan (SDP)
Succeeded byCharles Kennedy
Member of Parliament
for Yeovil
In office
9 June 1983 – 7 June 2001
Preceded byJohn Peyton
Succeeded byDavid Laws
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
10 July 2001
Life Peerage – 22 December 2018
Personal details
Jeremy John Durham Ashdown

(1941-02-27)27 February 1941
New Delhi, British Raj
(now New Delhi, India)
Died22 December 2018(2018-12-22) (aged 77)
Norton-sub-Hamdon, Somerset, England
Political partyLiberal Democrats
Jane Courtenay (m. 1962)
Alma materBedford School
AwardsNaval General Service Medal (1915-62) Borneo Clasp General Service Medal (1962-2007) Northern Ireland Clasp
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch/serviceRoyal Marines
Years of service1959–1972
UnitSpecial Boat Service
Battles/warsIndonesian Confrontation
Operation Banner

Jeremy John Durham 'Paddy' Ashdown, Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon GCMG CH KBE PC (27 February 1941 – 22 December 2018) was a British politician and international diplomat. He was the leader of the Liberal Democrats from July 1988 to August 1999.

Biography[change | change source]

Paddy Ashdown was born in New Delhi, British India,[1] but 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'.

Ashdown was diagnosed with "serious" bladder cancer in October 2018.[5] He died two months later on 22 December 2018 from the disease in Norton-sub-Hamdon, Somerset, aged 77.[6]

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. Archived from the original on 10 November 2007. 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. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  3. "Ashdown to quit as leader". BBC News. 20 January 1999.
  4. Lucy Ward (21 January 1999). "End of the Ashdown era". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 November 2007.
  5. "Ex-Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown diagnosed with bladder cancer". Sky News. November 2, 2018.
  6. "Ex-Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown dies aged 77". BBC News. 22 December 2018. Retrieved 22 December 2018.