Lord Paddy Ashdown was a British politician and former leader of the Liberal Democrats. It was announced that he has passed away after being treated for cancer. He was 77 years old.
He was once a marine commando and diplomat. Ashdown was the longest-serving leader of the Liberal Democrats for 11 years between the period of 1988 and 1999. He also served as an MP for Yeovil.
According to a party spokesperson, he died last night after battling with a short illness. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer last October.
The party said that Ashdown had “made an immeasurable contribution to furthering the cause of liberalism.”
Sir Vince Cable, the current Liberal Democrats leader, said that Ashdown was the one who was responsible for the rise to popularity of the party in 1997. He said that he was able to double the number of MPs and he was also responsible for “laying the ground for the strength which later took the party into government.”
He continued: “This is a hugely sad day for the Liberal Democrats and for the very many people across political and public life who had immense affection and respect for Paddy.”
Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said that Ashdown had “dedicated his life to public service and he will be sorely missed.”
He stood down as an MP in 2001. However, he went on to be appointed as the high representative of the United Nations and a special representative of the European Union in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In recent years, the former politician had re-entered the political area to campaign in favour of the United Kingdom staying in the European Union. He also called for a second Brexit referendum. He was said to have considered the outcome of the 2016 vote as “a sense of personal bereavement.”
Ashdown is survived by his wife Jane, and their two children.