Liberal Democrats

Tribute to Paddy Ashdown

Today Conference paid tribute to our former leader, Paddy Ashdown. This follows the moving memorial service held for Lord Ashdown at Westminster Abbey last week.

By Liberal Democrats, Sep 17, 2019 3:09

Paddy Ashdown speaking at Lib Dem conference.

With beautiful sunny Bournemouth as a backdrop, Paddy’s friends and colleagues took to the main stage to share their fond memories of him.

Sir Nick Harvey, a former MP alongside Paddy and the current Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats reminisced about the energy that Paddy would bring to every task, including his order to Sir Nick (then a Defence Minister) to dispatch a submarine for Paddy’s use.

Members of Paddy’s former staff talked of how you could always tell if someone had worked for Paddy because they walked faster than everyone else.

Jo Philips, who worked for Paddy whilst he was Leader. She spoke of Paddy’s impatience and energetic. Demanding better of his staff, not for himself but our party, our country and our world. A mind that was constantly working, a great sense of humour and he recognised his shortcomings.

Another former member of Paddy’s staff Ian Patrick spoke of his time in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Paddy once told a story from when he was High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina of when a bounty of £2 million was put on his head. Paddy did not think that was anywhere near high enough.

Ian also regailed to story of the treat of a petrol station being blown up by those that wanted to harm the peace process. When security concerns were raised, Paddy banged the table again and again. Then said, “Who here has tried to blow up a petrol station, because I have. And it’s bloody difficult I can tell you.”

Tributes from our newest MPs reflected the incredible role he played in shaping the party today and the enormous affection for Paddy felt throughout the community.

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