Paddy Ashdown

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Person.png Paddy Ashdown   Powerbase Sourcewatch WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(spook, politician, diplomat)
Paddy Ashdown.jpg
BornJeremy John Durham Ashdown
New Delhi, British Raj
Died22 December 2018 (Age 77)
Alma materBedford School
ChildrenSon and daughter
SpouseJane Courtenay
Member ofFranco-British Colloque, Königswinter/Speakers, The Other Club
PartyLiberal Democrats
Chatham House President for 10 years. MI6 operative and UK politician

Employment.png Chatham House/President

In office
2005 - 21 July 2015
Succeeded byEliza Manningham-Buller

Employment.png Leader of the Liberal Democrats

In office
16 July 1988 - 11 August 1999
DeputyAlan Beith

Employment.png Member of Parliament for Yeovil

In office
9 June 1983 - 7 June 2001
Succeeded byDavid Laws

Employment.png Member of the House of Lords Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
10 July 2001 - Present

Jeremy John Durham Ashdown, Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, GCMG CH KBE PC, usually known as Paddy Ashdown, was a British politician and former diplomat. In 2015 he was Chair of the Liberal Democrats 2015 General Election team.[1]


Royal Marines and Special Boat Section

After his father's business collapsed, Lord Ashdown passed the naval scholarship examination to pay for his school fees,[2] but left before taking A-levels and joined the Royal Marines in 1959, serving until 1972, retiring with the rank of Captain. He served in Borneo during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation and the Persian Gulf before training as a Swimmer Canoeist in 1965, after which he joined the elite Special Boat Section and commanded a Section in the Far East. He then went to Hong Kong in 1967 to undertake a full-time interpreter's course in Chinese,[2] and returned to Britain in 1970 when he was given command of a Royal Marine company in Belfast.[3]

Intelligence officer and diplomat

Ashdown then left the Royal Marines to join MI6, and served with Richard Dearlove.[2][4] 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.[5] 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 Conference.[6]


Paddy Ashdown became a Member of Parliament (MP) for Yeovil from 1983 to 2001, and Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1988 until August 1999; later he was International High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina from 27 May 2002 to 30 May 2006, following his vigorous lobbying for military action against Yugoslavia in the 1990s. A polyglot, Ashdown has an interpretership qualification in Mandarin Chinese and was fluent in several other languages.

Ashdown has 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.[7]

Opposition leader should oppose

Patrick Haseldine's letter was published 14 days before the Lockerbie Bombing

In the Observer of Sunday 11 December 1988, Richard Ingrams wrote:

I switched on the Today Programme last week to hear a nicely spoken man being cross-examined about the silly plan to make local government candidates in Ulster sign a renunciation of violence before they can stand for office. The man, whom I assumed to be a junior Government Minister of some kind, defended the measure as best he could, saying that he was sure it would be a useful weapon in the battle against "terrorism" and one which was bound to reduce violence.
"Thank you Mr Ashdown," the interviewer concluded after a minute or two. It turned out, to my great surprise, that the speaker was the newly-elected leader of the Democrats and the man who has pledged himself to replace Mr Neil Kinnock as the Leader of the Opposition. Paddy Ashdown appears not to have grasped the point that the job of an Opposition leader is to oppose. In this respect, there is nothing to choose between him and his rival Dr David Owen.
Owen is a natural Tory, as he showed again last week over the case of Mr Patrick Haseldine, the Foreign Office official, who in a letter to The Guardian last week made a splendid kamikaze attack on Mrs Thatcher for indulging in 'self-righteous invective' over the Patrick Ryan case.
Instead of taking up Mr Haseldine's point and using it as a stick to beat the Government with, as any good Opposition leader would have done, Dr Goody-Two-Shoes called for Haseldine's immediate dismissal.[8]


Event Participated in

Bilderberg/198912 May 198914 May 1989Spain
La Toja Island
37th Bilderberg meeting, 110 guests
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