Paddy Ashdown passes away at the age of 77

Former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown dies aged 77

He was battle an illness

Former Liberal Democrats leader Paddy Ashdown has died aged 77 following a short illness.

A party spokesperson said in a statement that the former MP passed away on Saturday evening.

Lord Ashdown, who led the party between 1988 and 1999, was diagnosed with bladder cancer in October.

Paddy Ashdown signs copies of his new book 'Game of Spies' at the Liberal Democrats conference 2016 in Brighton, England
Paddy passed away on Saturday evening (Credit: Wenn)

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Tributes have began pouring in for the politician.

Former Lib Dem leader and ex-deputy PM Sir Nick Clegg called Lord Ashdown “the most heartfelt person I have known”.

“Paddy was the reason I entered politics,” he said. “He was the reason I became a liberal. And he became a lifelong mentor, friend and guide.”

Former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron wrote on Twitter: “Paddy Ashdown was a hero to me, he saved and revived the Liberal Democrats at our lowest ebb, and then led us to our best result for 70 years.

“As a movement, we owe him our very existence.”

Party leader of the Lib Dems Vince Cable also tweeted: “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 @paddyashdown.

“He was famous for his politics but his talents extended well beyond that arena. RIP.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Lord Ashdown would be “greatly missed”.

Meanwhile, former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron wrote a tribute to Lord Ashdown on Twitter, also.

Prime Minister Theresa May said Lord Ashdown “served his country with distinction” in both his military and political careers.

She added: “He dedicated his life to public service and he will be sorely missed.”

Former Labour prime minister Tony Blair said: “He had courage, personal and political, unafraid to speak his mind yet always open to the views of others. He was one of the least tribal politicians I have ever known.”

Paddy Ashdown on GMB
Tributes are pouring in for Lord Ashdown (Credit: ITV)

Lord Ashdown was the longest serving leader of the Lib Dems in its history.

He was a strong supporter of Clegg’s controversial decision to take the party into coalition with the Conservatives in 2010.

He went on to play a role in the Remain campaign during the 2016 referendum.

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