Paddy Ashdown

Jeremy John Durham Ashdown, Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, GCMG, CH, KBE, PC (27 February 1941 – 22 December 2018), known as Paddy Ashdown, was a British politician and diplomat who served as Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1988 to 1999. He gained international recognition for his role in Bosnia–Herzegovina as its High Representative from 2002 to 2006, following his vigorous lobbying for military action against Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

After serving as a Royal Marine and Special Boat Service officer and as an intelligence officer in the UK security services, Ashdown was elected Member of Parliament for Yeovil in 1983 before retiring in 2001.

Ashdown received national recognition for his services by appointment as Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) in the 2006 New Year Honours and Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) in the 2015 New Year Honours.[1][2]

A polyglot, Ashdown had an interpretership qualification in Mandarin and was fluent in several other languages.[3]

The Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon

Official portrait of Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon crop 2
Paddy Ashdown in March 2018
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
In office
16 July 1988 – 11 August 1999
Preceded by
Succeeded byCharles Kennedy
High Representative
for Bosnia and Herzegovina
In office
27 May 2002 – 31 January 2006
Preceded byWolfgang Petritsch
Succeeded byChristian Schwarz-Schilling
Chair of the Liberal Democrat General Election Committee
In office
26 September 2012 – 7 May 2015
LeaderNick Clegg
Preceded byWillie Rennie (2010)[nb]
Succeeded byGreg Mulholland[nb]
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
10 July 2001 – 22 December 2018
Life peerage
Member of Parliament
for Yeovil
In office
9 June 1983 – 7 June 2001
Preceded byJohn Peyton
Succeeded byDavid Laws
Majorityover 3,000 (1983)
Personal details
Jeremy John Durham Ashdown

27 February 1941
New Delhi, British India
Died22 December 2018 (aged 77)
Norton-sub-Hamdon, Somerset, England
Cause of deathBladder cancer
Political partyLiberal Democrats
Other political
Jane Courtenay (m. 1962)
Alma materBedford School
  • Politician
  • diplomat
AwardsSee § Honours and awards
Paddy Ashdown's signature
Military service
Branch/service Corps of Royal Marines
Years of service1959–1972
UnitSpecial Boat Service
n.b. ^ As Campaigns & Communications Chair.

Early life

Ashdown was the eldest of seven children: he had four brothers and two sisters.[4] He was born in New Delhi, British India,[5] on 27 February 1941[6][7] to a family of soldiers and colonial administrators who spent their lives in India.[8] His father was a lapsed Catholic, and his mother a Protestant. His mother (née Hudson) was a nurse in the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps.[9] Ashdown's father, John William Richard Durham Ashdown (1909–1980), was a British Indian Army officer serving in the 14th Punjab Regiment and the Royal Indian Army Service Corps, and in 1944 attained the rank of temporary lieutenant colonel.[10] [a]

Ashdown was largely brought up in Northern Ireland, where his father bought a farm in 1945[5] near Comber, Donaghadee.[12] He was educated first at a local primary school, then as a weekly boarder at Garth House Preparatory School in Bangor[12] and from age 11 at Bedford School in England, where his accent earned him the nickname "Paddy".[12]

Royal Marines and Special Boat Section

After his father's business collapsed, Ashdown passed the naval scholarship examination to pay for his school fees,[13] but left before taking A-levels and joined the Royal Marines in 1959.[12] He served until 1972[5] and retired with the rank of captain. He served in Borneo during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation and the Persian Gulf,[4] before training as a Swimmer Canoeist in 1965, after which he joined the elite Special Boat Section (now named the Special Boat Service) and commanded a Section in the Far East.[5] He then went to Hong Kong in 1967 to undertake a full-time interpreter's course in Chinese,[13] and returned to the UK in 1970 when he was given command of a Royal Marine company in Belfast.[5]

Intelligence officer and diplomat

Ashdown left the Royal Marines to join the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6).[13][14] As diplomatic cover, he worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as first secretary to the United Kingdom mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.[15] At the UN, Ashdown was responsible for relations with several UN organisations, involved in the negotiation of several international treaties, and some aspects of the Helsinki Accords in 1975.[16]

Political career

While in the Marines, Ashdown had been a supporter of the Labour Party but switched support to the Liberal Party in 1975. He had a comfortable life in Switzerland, where he lived with his wife Jane and their two children Simon and Katherine in a large house on the shores of Lake Geneva, enjoying plenty of time for sailing, skiing and climbing.[15] Ashdown decided to enter politics after the UK had two general elections in one year (those of February and October 1974) and the Three-Day Week.[13] He said that "most of my friends thought it was utterly bonkers" to leave the diplomatic service, but that he had "a sense of purpose".[17]

In 1976 Ashdown was selected as the Liberal Party's prospective parliamentary candidate in his wife's home constituency of Yeovil in Somerset,[15] and took a job with Normalair Garrett, then part of the Yeovil-based Westland Group. Yeovil's Liberal candidate had been placed second in the February 1974[18] and third in the October 1974 general elections;[19] Ashdown's objective was to "squeeze" the local Labour vote to enable him to defeat the Conservatives,[15] who had held the seat since its creation in 1918.[20] He subsequently worked for Tescan, and was unemployed for a time after that firm's closure in 1981, before becoming a youth worker with Dorset County Council's Youth Service, working on initiatives to help the young unemployed.[8][16] That position being an unpaid "volunteer" one, Ashdown himself being classified at the time as "long term unemployed", having applied unsuccessfully for 150 jobs.[21]

Member of Parliament

In the 1979 general election which returned the Conservatives to power, Ashdown regained second place, establishing a clear lead of 9% over the Labour candidate.[22] The Conservative majority of 11,382[22] was still large enough to be regarded as a safe seat when the sitting MP John Peyton stood down at the 1983 general election to be made a life peer. Ashdown had gained momentum after his years of local campaigning.[23] The Labour vote fell to only 5.5% and Ashdown won the seat with a majority of over 3,000,[24] a swing from the Conservatives of 11.9% against a national swing of 4% to the Conservatives.[25]

In Parliament

Ashdown had long been on his party's social democratic wing, supporting the 1977 Lib–Lab pact,[15] and the SDP–Liberal Alliance. In the early 1980s he was a prominent campaigner against the deployment in Europe of American nuclear-armed cruise missiles, describing them at a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament rally in Hyde Park in 1983 as "the front end of the whole anti-nuclear struggle. It is the weapon we HAVE to stop."[26]

Shortly after entering the House of Commons, he was appointed SDP–Liberal Alliance spokesman on Trade and Industry and then on Education.[16] He opposed the privatisation of the Royal Ordnance Factories in 1984, in 1986 he criticised the Thatcher Government for allowing the United States to bomb Libya from UK bases, and in 1987 he campaigned against the loss of trade union rights by workers at GCHQ.[15]

Leader of Liberal Democrats

Ashdown in Chippenham during the 1992 general election campaign

When the Liberal Party merged in 1988 with the Social Democrats to form the Social and Liberal Democrats (name shortened in 1989 to "Liberal Democrats"), he was elected as the new party's leader and made a Privy Councillor in January 1989.[27]

Ashdown led the Liberal Democrats into two general elections, in 1992 and 1997. The Lib Dems recorded a net loss of two seats in 1992, when the party was still recovering from the after-effects of the 1988 merger. At the 1997 election, the Liberal Democrats won 46 seats, their best performance since the 1920s, though they did take a smaller share of the vote than they had done at the 1992 election.[28]

Between 1993 and 1997, he was a notable proponent of co-operation between the Liberal Democrats and "New Labour", and had regular secret meetings with Tony Blair to discuss the possibility of a coalition government. This was despite Labour's opinion poll showings from late 1992 onwards virtually all suggesting that they would gain a majority at the next election, particularly in the first year or so of Blair's leadership following his appointment in mid-1994. The discussions began in early 1993, while the party was still being led by Blair's predecessor John Smith, who died suddenly in May 1994. After Blair was elected as Labour leader the talks continued.[29]

There was no need for a coalition, as the 1997 general election ended in a Labour landslide victory. The election also saw a breakthrough for the Liberal Democrats despite receiving fewer votes than in 1992; they increased their representation from 18 to 46. A "Joint Cabinet Committee" (JCC) including senior Labour and Liberal Democrat politicians was then created to discuss the implementation of the two parties' shared priorities for constitutional reform; its remit was later expanded to include other issues on which Blair and Ashdown saw scope for co-operation between the two parties. Ashdown's successor as Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy, deliberately allowed the JCC to slip into abeyance until it effectively stopped meeting.[30]

Resignation and retirement

Paddy Ashdown 3
Ashdown in 2011

Ashdown announced his intention to resign as Leader of the Liberal Democrats on 20 January 1999,[31] departing on 9 August that year after 11 years in the role, and was succeeded by Charles Kennedy.[32] In mid-1999, there was speculation that he would be appointed the new Secretary General of NATO; his lack of governmental experience meant that doubts were raised about his suitability. The post was ultimately filled by Labour Defence Secretary George Robertson.[33][34][35]

He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 2000[36] and was created a Life Peer as Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, of Norton-sub-Hamdon in the County of Somerset, on 10 July 2001,[37] in the House of Lords, on 16 July 2001 after retiring from the Commons one month previously. In the 2001 election, the Yeovil seat was retained for the Liberal Democrats by David Laws. Ashdown was conferred in 2001 with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of Bath.[38]

In retirement Ashdown became a regular voice for the Liberal Democrats. He publicly supported military strikes in Syria in 2013, and said he was ashamed after parliament voted against them.[39] At the 2015 general election he appeared on the BBC soon after the announcement of the exit poll which predicted that the Liberal Democrats would be reduced from 57 MPs to 10. Ashdown stated that he would eat his hat if the exit poll was correct. The actual result was that the Liberal Democrats returned eight MPs but the technical difference from the exit poll was not enough to save him from several requests to carry out his vow. Some commentators suggested humorously that this was an example of Liberal Democrats breaking their promises in response to u-turns conducted while in coalition government.[40] The following day after the election, on the BBC's Question Time programme, Ashdown was presented with a chocolate hat that he later ate.[41]

Offer of Cabinet post

In June 2007, the BBC reported that Ashdown had been offered, and rejected, the Cabinet post of Northern Ireland Secretary by incoming Labour Party Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell had already ruled out the idea that members of his party would take seats in a Brown Cabinet, but, according to the reports, Brown still proceeded to approach Ashdown with the offer. [42]

High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina

2004-07-31 powell sarajevo ashdown 600
Ashdown with US Secretary of State Colin Powell in July 2004 News Photo 041108-D-2987S-162
Ashdown receiving the Distinguished Public Service Award from US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in November 2004

After leaving frontline British politics, he accepted the post of the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina on 27 May 2002,[43] reflecting his long-time advocacy of international intervention in that region. He succeeded Wolfgang Petritsch in the position created under the Dayton Agreement. During his time as High Representative, he strengthened the central state institutions, brought in statewide legal bodies such as the State Investigation and Protection Agency and brought the two ethnic armies under a central civilian command.[44] He is sometimes denigrated as "the Viceroy of Bosnia" by critics of his work as High Representative.[45][46]

Witness for the prosecution at the Milošević trial

On 14 March 2002, Ashdown testified as a witness for the prosecution at the trial of Slobodan Milošević at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.[47] He said that he was on the Kosovo-Albania border near Junik in June 1998.[47] From this location through his binoculars, Ashdown claimed to have seen Serbian forces shelling several villages.[47]

In July 2005, a defence witness, General Božidar Delić, claimed by demonstrating with a topographical map of the area that Ashdown could not have been able to see the areas that he claimed to be able to see as hills, mountains and thick woods would have obstructed his view.[48]

After the Delić claims, Ashdown supplied the Tribunal with grid coordinates and a cross section of the ground indicating that he could indeed see the locations concerned.[49] These coordinates indicated he was on the Kosovo-Albania border, which was a sealed border at the time.[49] The prosecution also used some new maps and topographical cross sections indicating Ashdown's location, but their accuracy was challenged by Delić as the location of a village was different from other maps of the area.[49]

UN representative for Afghanistan

Ashdown was later asked by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown to take charge of the Allied effort in Afghanistan;[50][51] though an unnamed source is quoted in a 16 January Reuters report indicating that Ashdown was also approached by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and met with the Afghan President Hamid Karzai secretly in Kuwait to discuss the post which he later accepted.[52] He later decided against taking the role, after gleaning that Afghanistan preferred General Sir John McColl over him.[53] On 7 March 2008 Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide was appointed as the UN representative for Afghanistan, stating "I'm not Paddy Ashdown, but don't under-estimate me."[54]

Other positions

Ashdown was a member of the Governing Council of Interpeace, an international peacebuilding organisation,[55] and also served as President of Chatham House.[56] He later chaired the Liberal Democrats' 2015 general election team.[57]

In 2016, Ashdown founded More United alongside several other public figures in response to the result of the June referendum on British membership of the European Union.[58] More United is a liberal and progressive cross-party political movement.[59]

Personal life

Ashdown married Jane Courtenay in 1962. The couple had a son, Simon, and daughter, Katharine, along with three grandchildren. In 1992, following the press becoming aware of a stolen document relating to a divorce case, he disclosed a five-month affair with his secretary, Patricia Howard, five years earlier from which he acquired the press nickname 'Paddy Pantsdown'.[60] His career and marriage both survived the political and tabloid storm, with his wife forgiving him.[15][61]

Ashdown supported Yeovil Town.[62] He was a member of the National Liberal Club.[63]


Ashdown was diagnosed with bladder cancer in October 2018.[64] He died on 22 December 2018, aged 77.[65]

Honours and awards

Styles of address

  • 1941–1983: Mr Paddy Ashdown
  • 1983–1989: Mr Paddy Ashdown MP
  • 1989–2000: The Rt Hon Paddy Ashdown MP
  • 2000–2001: The Rt Hon Sir Paddy Ashdown KBE MP
  • 2001: The Rt Hon Sir Paddy Ashdown KBE
  • 2001–2006: The Rt Hon The Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon KBE PC
  • 2006–2014: The Rt Hon The Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon GCMG KBE PC
  • 2015–2018: The Rt Hon The Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon GCMG CH KBE PC

Published works

  • (2000). The Ashdown Diaries 1988–1997. 1. ISBN 0-14-029775-8.
  • (2001). The Ashdown Diaries 1997–1999. 2. ISBN 0-14-029776-6.
  • (2008). Swords and Ploughshares: Building Peace in the 21st Century. ISBN 0-297-85303-1.
  • (2010). A Fortunate Life: The Autobiography of Paddy Ashdown. ISBN 978-1-84513-419-8.
  • (2011). The Cruel Victory: The French Resistance, D-Day and the Battle for the Vercors 1944. ISBN 978-0007520817.
  • (2012). A Brilliant Little Operation: The Cockleshell Heroes and the Most Courageous Raid of World War 2. ISBN 1845137019.
  • (2016). Game of Spies – The Secret Agent, the Traitor and the Nazi. ISBN 978-0-00-814084-7.
  • (2018). Nein!: Standing Up to Hitler 1935-1944. ISBN 978-0-00-825704-0.

See also


  1. ^ During the retreat to Dunkirk in May 1940, John Ashdown ignored an order to abandon the men of the 32nd Animal Transport Company (Mule) under his command, instead leading them to the port and on to one of the last ships to leave, without losing a single man. Although court-martialled for disobeying orders, he was exonerated, and by the end of the war had risen to the rank of colonel.[11]


  1. ^ "No. 61092". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2014. p. N28.
  2. ^ "2015 New Year Honours List" (PDF). Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  3. ^ "Paddy Ashdown: 'Learning six languages has changed my life'". The Guardian. 14 October 2014. I reply I have forgotten six … Malay … local language … among the Dayak people … two years learning Mandarin Chinese … [t]hen came German (briefly), French and Bosnian.
  4. ^ a b "Five facts about Paddy Ashdown". Reuters. 21 June 2007. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  5. ^ a b c d e "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.
  6. ^ Dennis Kavanagh (1998). "Ashdown, Paddy". A Dictionary of Political Biography. Oxford University Press. p. 20. Retrieved 31 August 2013. – via Questia (subscription required)
  7. ^ "Birthdays", The Guardian, p. 33, 27 February 2014
  8. ^ a b "Action man bows out". BBC News. 9 August 1999. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  9. ^ "Burke's Peerage – The Official Website".
  10. ^ "Officers of the Indian Army 1939–1945 – A".
  11. ^ Patrick Wintour, chief political correspondent (8 November 2000). "Ashdown tells how father stood by Indian troops". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  12. ^ a b c d 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.
  13. ^ a b c d Hamilton, Fiona (12 April 2009). "Lover, commando, spy – the making of Paddy Ashdown". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 19 April 2009.
  14. ^ Paul Waugh (4 May 2010). "Paddy Ashdown. Secret Agent". Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 7 May 2010. Retrieved 5 May 2010. Paddy was so upset that he referred to his own spying days (in Geneva in the 1970s). He said of Dearlove: "I actually served in the Secret Intelligence Service with him
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Andrew Roth (19 March 2001). "Sir Paddy Ashdown". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 November 2007.
  16. ^ a b c "Who's Who: Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon GCMG KBE". Liberal Democrats website. Archived from the original on 18 October 2007. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  17. ^ John-Paul Flintoff (24 October 2003). "Bridge builder". Financial Times website. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  18. ^ "UK General Election results February 1974: Yeovil". Richard Kimber's political science resources. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  19. ^ "UK General Election results October 1974: Yeovil". Richard Kimber's political science resources. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  20. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  21. ^ Williams, Zoe (2016-09-16). "Paddy Ashdown: 'I turned to my wife and said, it's not our country any more'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2018-12-26.
  22. ^ a b "UK General Election results May 1979: Yeovil". Richard Kimber's political science resources. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  23. ^ Byron Criddle and Robert Waller (2002). Almanac of British Politics. Routledge. p. 841. ISBN 0-415-26833-8.
  24. ^ "UK General Election results June 1983: Yeovil". Richard Kimber's political science resources. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  25. ^ "Lord Paddy Ashdown Politician and Elder Statesman". Champions plc. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  26. ^ Lewis, Julian (28 November 1996). "Nuclear record hard to defend". Western Gazette. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  27. ^ "Privy Councillors". Leigh Rayment's Privy Councillors Pages. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  28. ^ "1997: Blair's landslide". BBC News.
  29. ^ "Breaking politics and political news for Westminster and the UK -".
  30. ^ Grice, Andrew; Marie Woolf (22 September 2003). "Charles Kennedy: 'There's a change in the way politics is conducted. Outside Westminster, nobody talks of left and right'". The Independent. London. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  31. ^ "Ashdown to quit as leader". BBC News. 20 January 1999.
  32. ^ "Kennedy to lead Lib Dems". BBC News. 9 August 1999.
  33. ^ Fitchett, Joseph (15 July 1999). "Paddy Ashdown of Britain Is Seen by Some As Leading Candidate for Secretary-General : Hunt for NATO Chief Moves Into New Phase". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  34. ^ Ulbrich, Jeffrey (16 July 1999). "Secretary-general sought by NATO". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  35. ^ Whitney, Craig R. (31 July 1999). "Britain Nominates Its Defense Secretary to Be Head of NATO". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  36. ^ "No. 55879". The London Gazette (Supplement). 19 June 2000. p. 7.
  37. ^ "No. 56275". The London Gazette. 16 July 2011. p. 8373.
  38. ^ "Honorary Graduates 2000 to 2009". University of Bath. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  39. ^ Carter, Claire (30 August 2013). "Syria crisis: Paddy Ashdown 'ashamed' of Britain over Commons vote". The Telegraph.
  40. ^ "Video: Paddy Ashdown: I will 'eat my hat' if that poll is right". The Daily Telegraph. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  41. ^ Prince, Rosa (9 May 2015). "Lord Ashdown and Alastair Campbell forced to eat their (chocolate) hat and kilt". The Telegraph. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  42. ^ "Brown offered Ashdown Cabinet job". BBC News online. 21 June 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2007.
  43. ^ Alex Todorovic (27 May 2002). "Ashdown takes over in Bosnia". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  44. ^ "High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Briefs Security Council, Noting Recent Transfer to Hague of Five Major War Crime Indictees". United Nations. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  45. ^ Mark Steyn (7 July 2002). "Message from America: we're independent". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  46. ^ Michael White (22 June 2007). "Team Gordon: Michael White suggests his dream team for a Brown cabinet". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  47. ^ a b c "Milošević trial transcript 14 March 2002 Page 2331 Line 24". United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 5 March 2007. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  48. ^ United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia: Milošević trial transcript 7 July 2005 Page 42036 Line 7 & 12 July 2005 Page 42205 Line 1
  49. ^ a b c "Milošević trial transcript 28 September 2005 Page 44684 Line 1". United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 5 March 2007. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  50. ^ Paul Reynolds (12 December 2007). "Dismantling the Taleban is the aim". BBC News. Retrieved 23 November 2007. One "big idea being pressed by the British government is for the appointment of a senior international figure to be the UN representative for Afghanistan. The name of Lord (Paddy) Ashdown, who ran Bosnia-Herzegovina after the civil war, has been mentioned.
  51. ^ Michael Abramowitz and Peter Baker (17 December 2007). "Bush Faces Pressure to Shift War Priorities: As Iraq Calms, Focus Turns to Afghanistan". Washington Post. Retrieved 23 November 2007. Administration officials said the White House is considering a range of steps to stem the erosion, including the appointment of a leading international political figure to try to better coordinate efforts in Afghanistan. European newspapers have focused on Paddy Ashdown, a British politician and envoy, but a former senior military officer said his appointment would be considered controversial and seems unlikely.
  52. ^ Michael Abramowitz and Peter Baker (16 January 2008). "Ashdown accepts job as U.N. Afghan envoy". Reuters. Retrieved 16 January 2008. Paddy Ashdown has agreed to become the United Nations' envoy to Afghanistan, a source close to negotiations on the post said on Wednesday. "Yes, he has accepted the job," the source said of an agreement between Ashdown, 66, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
  53. ^ "Ashdown pulls out of Afghan role". BBC News. 27 January 2008. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  54. ^ Leithead, Alastair (28 March 2008). "UN's new Afghan envoy begins work". BBC News. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  55. ^ Interpeace "Governing Council" Retrieved on 7 February 2012
  56. ^ Patrons, Presidents, Council and Directors – Chatham House Retrieved on 29 September 2012
  57. ^ "Paddy Ashdown to chair Lib Dem 2015 election team". BBC News. 26 September 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  58. ^ Shead, Sam. "Paddy Ashdown has launched a tech-driven political startup called More United that will crowdfund MPs across all parties". Business Insider. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  59. ^ Shead, Sam (24 July 2016). "Paddy Ashdown has launched a tech-driven political startup called More United that will crowdfund MPs across all parties". Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  60. ^ Boniface, Susie (21 October 2000). "Wife knew about 'Paddy Pantsdown' affair". The Guardian.
  61. ^ Lucy Ward (21 January 1999). "End of the Ashdown era". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 November 2007.
  62. ^ Cowlin, Chris (5 December 2007). Celebrities' Favourite Football Teams. Essex: Apex Publishing Ltd. p. 3. ISBN 978-1904444848.
  63. ^ "National Liberal Club elects its first ever woman chairman". Liberal Democratic Voice. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  64. ^ "Ex-Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown diagnosed with bladder cancer". Sky News. 2 November 2018.
  65. ^ "Ex-Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown dies aged 77". BBC News. 22 December 2018. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  66. ^ (22 January 2014). "Paddy Ashdown". Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  67. ^ "The Queen's Birthday Honours". BBC. 16 Jun 2000.
  68. ^ "Crown Office". London Gazette. 16 Jul 2001.
  69. ^ "No. 57855". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2005. p. N3.
  70. ^ "Ashdown recognised in honours list". BBC News. 30 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2018.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Peyton
Member of Parliament for Yeovil
Succeeded by
David Laws
Party political offices
Preceded by
David Steel
Bob Maclennan
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
Succeeded by
Charles Kennedy
Political offices
Preceded by
Wolfgang Petritsch
High Representative
for Bosnia and Herzegovina

Succeeded by
Christian Schwarz-Schilling
1976 Liberal Party (UK) leadership election

The 1976 Liberal Party (UK) leadership election was called following the resignation of Jeremy Thorpe in the wake of allegations which would eventually lead to Mr. Thorpe's trial and acquittal for conspiracy to murder in 1979.

There were two candidates, David Steel and John Pardoe, who were elected by a ballot of an electoral college made up of representatives of the various constituency associations, with their vote "weighted" by the strength of the Liberal vote at the previous general election. This electoral system was devised by Michael Steed, and this election proved to be the only time it was ever used to elect a Liberal leader.

The election was won by David Steel, who served as leader of the Liberal Party until merger with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1988, forming the Liberal Democrats. David Steel later served as interim leader of the Liberal Democrats (jointly with Bob Maclennan of the SDP) for the duration of the 1988 leadership election which eventually elected Paddy Ashdown as the new party's first permanent leader.

1988 Social and Liberal Democrats leadership election

The 1988 Social and Liberal Democrats leadership election was called in the United Kingdom following the formation of the then Social and Liberal Democrats (later shortening their name to "Liberal Democrats"). It was intended to replace the two interim leaders, David Steel and Robert Maclennan, with a single figurehead better able to represent both the former members of the Liberal Party and of the Social Democratic Party.

There were two candidates and all members of the party were balloted using the Alternative Vote preference system. The election was won by Paddy Ashdown, who served as leader until his stepping down in 1999. The campaign occurred in a party which was still coping with the merger and saw a vituperative attack on Ashdown in a letter written by Alex Carlile, a Beith-supporting MP.

1997 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours

The 1997 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours were officially announced in two supplements to the London Gazette of 1 August 1997 (published 2 August 1997) and marked the May 1997 resignation of the Prime Minister, John Major.A notable omission from the list was Norman Lamont, who was overlooked for a life peerage in what was seen as a snub for the former Chancellor of the Exchequer who had become one of Major's most prominent critics.Included in the announced list were new "working peers": 31 new Labour life peers recommended by Tony Blair to reduce the Tory majority; Paddy Ashdown, the Liberal Democrat leader, recommended 11 new Liberal Democrat life peers; five were recommended by William Hague, the new Conservative Leader.

The recipients of the major classes of honours are displayed below, as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour.

1999 Liberal Democrats leadership election

The 1999 Liberal Democrats leadership election was called following the resignation of Paddy Ashdown as Leader of the Liberal Democrats. There were five candidates and all members of the party were balloted using the Alternative Vote preference system. The election was won by Charles Kennedy, who served as leader until his resignation in 2006.

The chief issue in the election was whether the party should continue its partial collaboration with the Labour Party, which had seen Ashdown and other senior Liberal Democrats appointed to a joint Cabinet committee on electoral reform. Most of the candidates were to various degrees sceptical about this approach, with Simon Hughes the most hostile and Charles Kennedy the strongest defender of Ashdown. The campaign was almost entirely free of bitterness and outspoken comments. Kennedy was generally favoured by the press because of his name recognition, which derived from his frequent appearances on light-hearted panel games on television.

Ashdown (surname)

Ashdown is an English surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Bill Ashdown (1898–1979), English cricketer

David Ashdown, Bishop of Keewatin

Doug Ashdown (born 1942), Australian singer-songwriter

George Ashdown (1851–1939), Canadian politician

Hugh Ashdown (1904–1977), Bishop of Newcastle

Isabel Ashdown (born 1970), British author

James Henry Ashdown (1844–1924), Canadian merchant

Jamie Ashdown (born 1980), English footballer

Joe Ashdown (1922–1982), Australian rules footballer

John Ashdown-Hill (born 1949), British historian

Paddy Ashdown (1941–2018), British politician

Pete Ashdown (born 1967), US businessman and politician

Peter Ashdown (born 1934), English racing driver

Richard Ashdown (born 1978), English darts master of ceremonies

Simon Ashdown, British television writer

Borislav Paravac

Borislav Paravac (Serbian Cyrillic: Борислав Паравац; born 18 February 1943) is a Bosnian Serb politician and former member of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 10 April 2003 to 6 November 2006.Paravac was born on 18 February 1943 in Kostajnica near Doboj in northern Bosnia. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Zagreb in 1966. From 1990 to 2000, he was mayor of Doboj municipality, and was also a Parliament Member in the Republika Srpska People's Assembly.

In the 2002 election Paravac was elected to parliament. Following the dismissal of Mirko Šarović from his post at the tripartite presidency by the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lord Paddy Ashdown, Paravac was appointed to the post on 11 April 2003.

Charles Kennedy

Charles Peter Kennedy (25 November 1959 – 1 June 2015) was a Scottish Liberal Democrat politician who was Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1999 to 2006, and a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1983 to 2015, latterly for the Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency.Kennedy became at different times a member of three political parties. At the age of 15 he joined the Labour Party, followed in 1981 by the newly formed SDP (Social Democratic Party), and in 1988, the Liberal Democrats, when the SDP merged with the Liberal Party.At the 1983 general election, Kennedy was elected for the SDP aged 23. He quickly emerged as a potential party leader; in 1991, after the Alliance parties had merged, he became President of the Liberal Democrats, a position that he held for the next four years.

In 1999, after the resignation of Paddy Ashdown, Kennedy was elected as party leader at the age of 39. He led the party through two general elections, increasing its number of seats in the House of Commons to 62, the highest level since the Liberal Party won 158 seats in 1923, and led his party's opposition to the Iraq War. A charismatic and affable speaker in public, he appeared extensively on television during his leadership.

During the latter stages of Kennedy's leadership, there was concern about both his leadership and his health. From December 2005, some within the party were openly questioning his position and calling for a leadership election. On 5 January 2006, he was informed that ITN would be reporting that he had received treatment for a drinking problem; he pre-empted the broadcast by admitting that he had had treatment, and called a leadership election in which he intended to stand. This admission damaged his standing; 25 MPs signed a statement urging him to resign immediately, which he did on 7 January; he was replaced by Menzies Campbell.

After resigning as party leader, Kennedy remained in office as a backbench MP. After the 2010 general election he voted against Nick Clegg's decision to form a coalition with the Conservative Party. On the issue of constitutional reform, he was a long-term supporter of full home rule for Scotland within a federal United Kingdom within a federal Europe. He lost his seat at the 2015 general election to Ian Blackford of the SNP, and died less than a month later from a haemorrhage linked to his alcoholism.

David Laws

David Anthony Laws (born 30 November 1965) is a British Liberal Democrat politician. The Member of Parliament (MP) for Yeovil from 2001 to 2015, in his third parliament he served at the outset as a Cabinet Minister, in 2010, as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and later concurrently as Minister for Schools and for the Cabinet Office – an office where he worked cross-departmentally on implementing the coalition agreement in policies.

After a career in investment banking, Laws became an economic adviser and later Director of Policy and Research for his party. In 2001, he was elected as MP for Yeovil, succeeding former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown. In 2004, he co-edited The Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism, followed by Britain After Blair in 2006. After the 2010 general election, Laws was a senior party negotiator in the coalition agreement which underpinned the party's parliamentary five-year coalition government with the Conservative Party.

He held the office of Chief Secretary to the Treasury for 17 days before resigning owing to the disclosure of his parliamentary expenses claims, described by the Parliamentary Standards and Privileges Committee as "a series of serious breaches of the rules, over a considerable period of time", albeit unintended; the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards found "no evidence that [he] made his claims with the intention of benefiting himself or his partner in conscious breach of the rules." His was among the six cabinet resignations during the expenses scandal and he was suspended from Parliament for seven days by vote of the House of Commons.

Education Policy Institute

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) is an education policy think tank based in Westminster, London. It was formed in 2016 as a rebranding and refocusing of CentreForum, a Liberal Democrat think tank that had been formed in 2005 with funding from Paul Marshall. which itself was a relaunching and rebranding of the Centre for Reform which has been launched in 1995.After the death of its principal benefactor, Richard Wainwright, in 2003, the Centre for Reform's future appeared uncertain. Paul Marshall agreed to fund the Centre's future for at least three years and renamed it. Two Directors were recruited: Alasdair Murray from the Centre for European Reform; and Julian Astle MBE who had been working for Paddy Ashdown in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Duncan Greenland CBE became Chair of CentreForum's Trustee Board, remaining in that capacity until 2015. In early 2008 Jennifer Moses left to become a Special Adviser to Gordon Brown in Downing Street.When the Centre was refocused on education policy and renamed as EPI in 2016, David Laws was hired to lead it. Theodore Agnew, Kevan Collins, and Sally Morgan were brought on to the board, and Natalie Perera was retained as executive director.In July 2016 EPI published a study that found no significant differences in performance between Academy schools and local council run schools, and that multi-academy trusts running at least five schools performed worse than local council run schools.

Frontbench Team of Paddy Ashdown

The list that follows is the Liberal Democrats Frontbench Team/Shadow Cabinet led by Paddy Ashdown, who was Party leader from 1988 to 1999. The Party formed a Shadow Cabinet following the 1997 general election having doubled its number of MPs at that election. Initially known as a Frontbench Team, the Lib Dems began to refer to their Frontbench Team as a Shadow Cabinet during the leadership of Ashdown's successor, Charles Kennedy, although some controversy exists over whether or not it should be referred to as a Shadow Cabinet.

Liberal Democrat Federal Conference (UK)

The Liberal Democrat Federal Conference (often referred to as the Liberal Democrat Conference) is an internal body of the Liberal Democrats, as of September 2018 the third-largest UK-wide political party in terms of both votes cast and seats in the British Parliament. The Federal Conference is the highest representative body of the Liberal Democrats, which is one of the few British political parties to use its annual gathering for voting and policy resolution. The event also features speeches from prominent party members and guests and an exhibition. There are also several fringe events, run by internal political groups such as Liberal Reform, Social Liberal Forum and Young Liberals, and a well-established late-evening entertainment revue known as the Glee Club.

The Federal Conference takes place twice per year, first as the Spring Conference, usually held in March and then the Autumn Conference, usually in September. The first Federal Conference was held in Blackpool, in North West England, from 25 to 29 September 1988, with the most recent being the 63rd Conference, held in York, in Northern England, from 15 to 17 March 2019.

The Federal Conference is overseen by the Federal Conference Committee (FCC), which also selects motions and amendments for debates, runs Conference sessions and provides drafting advice and liaison. Its members are regularly elected and expected to be objective and fair in their selection of motions and amendments.The Federal Conference does not choose the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, who is instead elected by a party-wide ballot of all members, in a one-member, one-vote contest. The system has been in use since the party's inception in 1988, predating changes to internal party voting rules by both the Labour and Conservative parties. Neither Liberal Democrat MPs, nor any other internal party groups, have special voting rights over either party policy or in the election of the party Leader.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman

The Liberal Democrats, when in opposition, appoint spokesmen for all major offices of state. This practice began in 1994.

Liberal Democrats (UK)

The Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) are a liberal political party in the United Kingdom. They presently have 11 Members of Parliament in the House of Commons, 96 members of the House of Lords, and one member of the European Parliament. They also have five Members of the Scottish Parliament and a member each in the Welsh Assembly and London Assembly. The party reached the height of its influence in the early 2010s, forming a junior partner in a coalition government from 2010 to 2015. It is presently led by Vince Cable.

In 1981, an electoral alliance was estabished between the Liberal Party, a group descended partly from the 18th-century Whigs, and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), a splinter group from the Labour Party. In 1988 this alliance was formalised as the Liberal Democrats. Under the leadership of Paddy Ashdown and Charles Kennedy, the party grew during the 1990s and 2000s, focusing its campaigning on specific seats and becoming the third largest party in the House of Commons. Under its leader Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats were junior partners in a coalition government headed by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, with Clegg serving as Deputy Prime Minister. The coalition damaged the Liberal Democrats' electoral prospects and they faced heavy losses in the 2015 election.Positioned in the centre ground of British politics, the Liberal Democrats are ideologically liberal. Emphasising stronger protections for civil liberties, the party promotes socially liberal approaches to issues like LGBT rights, education policy, and criminal justice. Different factions take different approaches to economic issues; a classical liberal faction promotes greater economic liberalism, while others endorse a social market economy. The party is pro-Europeanist, supporting continued UK membership of the European Union and greater European integration; it previously called for adoption of the Euro currency. It calls for electoral reform with a transition from the first-past-the-post voting system to one of proportional representation. Other policies have included further environmental protections and drug liberalisation laws, while it has also opposed certain UK military engagements like the Iraq War.

The party is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and Liberal International. The Liberal Democrats are historically strongest in certain areas of the UK, including northern Scotland, southwest London, southwest England, and areas of mid-Wales.

Liberator (magazine)

Liberator is a radical liberal United Kingdom magazine associated with but not officially connected to the Liberal Democrats. Founded in 1970 as the magazine of the then Young Liberals, it has often published articles critical of the party leadership, in particular over the Liberal Party's debacle over nuclear disarmament in 1986, the merger of the Liberal Party and Social Democratic Party and the Tony Blair-Paddy Ashdown project.

Previous editors include Peter Hain in 1973-75, later a Labour MP. Since 1982, the magazine has been edited by an editorial collective, whose former members include Liz Barker, now a Liberal Democrat peer. The magazine merged with Radical Bulletin, mostly topical and distinctly off-message news, in 1983.

Regular features include a column by the fictional peer Lord Bonkers who "was Liberal MP for Rutland South-West between 1906 and 1910. Since 1990 his diaries have appeared in Liberator magazine, giving a unique perspective on British politics. Lord Bonkers' Diary is dictated to Jonathan Calder".

A history of the magazine was published in the 300th issue in December 2004.

Miranda Green (journalist)

Miranda Green is a British journalist, and the former Press Secretary to then Liberal Democrats party leader Paddy Ashdown.She went to Westminster School before university. After graduation, she worked as a business journalist for two years, including a traineeship at EuroWeek magazine. She then joined the Liberal Democrats in their press team, becoming in 1997 press secretary and advisor to the party's leader Paddy Ashdown.After Ashdown stepped down as leader in August 1999, Green joined the BBC for a short time to work on On The Record with John Humphrys, then became a journalist and columnist at the Financial Times. Employed first on the home news desk, she was then deputy world news editor, then the paper's education correspondent, and finally political correspondent.After giving birth to her first child in 2009, she has since been freelance, working for The Times, The Observer, The Sunday Times and Intelligent Life. She has also appeared as a pundit and commentator on The World Tonight (BBC Radio 4), Newshour (BBC World Service), The Politics Show, This Week (both on BBC One) and Newsnight (BBC Two), alongside appearances on BBC Radio 5Live, LBC and BSkyB.Green has been editor at The Day, a news website for schoolchildren, since it was founded at the beginning of 2011 by Richard Addis.

More United

More United is a cross-party political movement in the United Kingdom. It describes itself as a "tech-driven political startup" that supports candidates regardless of party affiliation. The movement advocates public service investment, democratic reform, a green economy, tolerant society, and co-operation with the EU.

More United takes its name from the maiden speech delivered by Jo Cox, a British MP who was murdered in June 2016.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1396

In United Nations Security Council resolution 1396, adopted unanimously on 5 March 2002, after recalling resolutions 1031 (1995), 1088 (1996), 1112 (1997), 1256 (1999) and 1357 (2001) on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Council welcomed the acceptance by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council on 28 February 2002 of the offer of the European Union to provide a European Union Police Mission (EUPM) to succeed the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) from 1 January 2003.The Security Council recalled the Dayton Agreement and preparations for the transition from UNMIBH at the end of its mandate. It agreed to the designation of Paddy Ashdown to succeed Wolfgang Petritsch as High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina and appreciated the work of the latter for his achievements.The resolution welcomed the establishment of the EUPM from 1 January 2003 to follow on from the end of UNMIBH's mandate as part of a co-ordinated rule of law programme. It encouraged co-ordination among the EUPM, UNMIBH and High Representative to ensure a transition of responsibilities from the International Police Task Force to the EUPM and welcomed the streamlining of the international civilian implementation effort in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The EUPM was to monitor and train the Bosnian Police and to create or reform sustainable institutions to EU standards.Finally, Resolution 1396 reaffirmed the importance and final authority the Council attached to the role of the High Representative in co-ordinating activities of organisations and agencies in the implementation of the Dayton Agreement.

Wilfred Hutton

Wilfred Noel Maxwell Hutton (5 June 1901, Dublin, Ireland – 12 September 1978 in County Cork) was an Irish cricketer. A right-handed batsman, he played once for the Ireland cricket team in 1927 and also played first-class cricket for Dublin University.Educated at Shrewsbury School where he was coached at cricket by Neville Cardus, he went on to attend Dublin University, playing cricket whilst there, including a first-class match against Essex in July 1922, his only first-class match, and played against the West Indies the following year. He played his one and only game for Ireland in August 1927, against the MCC at Lord's. The match was badly affected by rain and he did not bat or bowl for the duration. He continued to play club cricket until 1937.Following his cricket career, Hutton accepted a position as headmaster of a school in Bangor, County Down. One of his students at the school was future Liberal Democrats leader Paddy Ashdown. He retired in 1963 and settled in County Cork, where his life was disrupted by a rather bizarre incident. Hutton was a former British Army officer (he had been commissioned into the Royal Army Service Corps in March 1941), and one man believed that this must make him an MI6 agent and planned to assassinate him. The Garda Síochána intervened before this could happen.

Yeovil (UK Parliament constituency)

Yeovil is a county constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. It has been represented since 2015 by Marcus Fysh, a Conservative.

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