Jeremy Ashdown, Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, GCMG, CH, KBE, PC, otherwise known more colloquially as Paddy Ashdown, is a British politician and former diplomat who served as Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1988 until 1999.
He is the eldest of seven children: he has four brothers and two sisters. He was born in New Delhi, India, but spent most of his childhood in Northern Ireland before moved to England to be educated at Bedford School from the age of 11, where he gained the nickname of ‘Paddy’ due to his accent.
When his father’s business collapsed, Paddy gained a naval scholarship to continue to pay his school fees. Ashdown left school to join the Royal Marines in 1959, serving until 1972 and gaining the rank of Captain. His military career had seen him serve in Borneo, the Persian Gulf before commanding his own section in the Far East.
Paddy’s political career began in 1976 in his wife’s constituency of Yeovil for the Liberal Democrats, winning the seat in 1983 with a swing of 11.9%. During the merging of the Social and Liberal Democrats in 1988, Paddy was selected to take the leadership, directing the party to winning 46 seats in 1997 – their best result ever at the time.
After 11 years in the role Paddy announced his resignation from the Lib Dem helm – he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 2000 and was created a Life Peer as Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon in the House of Lords a month after retiring from the Commons in June 2001.
Paddy is a charismatic and thought provoking conference and after dinner speaker. He specialises in foreign affairs, globalisation, and new technology including e-commerce and information technology.
To book Lord Paddy Ashdown as the political or diplomatic speaker for your event contact Champions Motivational Speakers by completing the online form or calling us directly on: +44 1509 85 29 27.
- Politics Speaker
- The Political Landscape
- Transformational Leadership
- Risk Consideration
- Global Conflict Resolution
‘Inspirational and charismatic, Paddy uses humour and storytelling in delivering a truly captivating and interactive speech.’ – National Housing Federation