Ashdown, Paddy (Jeremy John Durham Ashdown, Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon), 1941–2018, British political leader and diplomat, b. New Delhi, British India, where his father was an army officer. Largely raised in Northern Ireland, he joined the Royal Marines in 1959, retiring in 1972 with the rank of captain after serving in the Special Boat Service in East Asia. He then worked in the Foreign Office and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), serving until 1976 in Britain's Geneva, Switzerland, mission to the United Nations. Ashdown joined the Liberal party in 1975, and was first elected to Parliament in 1983. In 1988, when the Liberals merged with the Social Democrats to form the Liberal Democrats, he became party leader (1988–99) and made the party into a significant third force in British politics. He served in the House of Commons until 2001, when he was created a life peer. A strong advocate for intervention following the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Ashdown served as international high representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina (2002–6).
See his memoirs (2009).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish History: Biographies