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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
Leader Nick Clegg
Preceded by Willie Rennie (2010, Campaigns and Communications Chair)
Succeeded by Greg Mulholland (Campaigns and Communications Chair)
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
Deputy Russell Johnston
Alan Beith
President Ian Wrigglesworth
Charles Kennedy
Robert Maclennan
Baroness Maddock
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
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
10 July 2001
Life Peerage – 22 December 2018
Personal details
Jeremy John Durham Ashdown

27 February 1941(1941-02-27)
New Delhi, British Raj
(now New Delhi, India)
Died 22 December 2018(2018-12-22) (aged 77)
Norton-sub-Hamdon, Somerset, England
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Democrats
Spouse(s) Jane Courtenay (m. 1962–present) «start: (1962)»"Marriage: Jane Courtenay to Paddy Ashdown" Location: (linkback:
Children 2
Alma mater Bedford School

Naval General Service Medal (1915-62) Borneo Clasp

General Service Medal (1962-2007) Northern Ireland Clasp
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Branch/service Royal Marines
Years of service 1959–1972
Rank Captain
Unit Special Boat Service
Battles/wars Indonesian 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.


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]