The Rt Hon Lord Paddy Ashdown

Rt Hon Paddy Ashdown

Paddy Ashdown GCMG CH KBE – Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon – is one of Britain's best known and most respected political figures. With long-term experience of both war zones and political landscapes, Lord Ashdown is often called upon to provide incisive commentary on political and defence issues. His calm, measured views have provided an authoritative voice on many TV and radio news programmes.

Born in New Delhi, Paddy spent his childhood between India and Britain. He joined the Royal Marines in 1959 and then became a member of the Special Boat Service. He subsequently spent five years as a British diplomat before joining the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6). Paddy entered the House of Commons in 1983 as Liberal MP for Yeovil, and shortly after was appointed Social Democratic Party (SDP)–Liberal Alliance spokesman on Trade and Industry and then on Education. In 1988, he became the first leader of the merged Liberal Democrats party, a post he held for 11 years. He received a knighthood in 2000 and entered the House of Lords a year later.

During the Bosnia and Herzegovina conflict, Lord Ashdown was one of the leading advocates for decisive action by the international community. He subsequently became High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, from May 2002 until January 2006.

More recently, Lord Ashdown has written eloquently on a number of military conflicts. "A Brilliant Little Operation" is an in-depth account of the daring World War II Marine Commando raid on the Nazi-occupied harbour at Bordeaux; it was published in September 2012 to tie in with his BBC documentary on the subject. "A Terrible Victory", published by HarperCollins in 2014, is the harrowing story of the uprising and subsequent massacre on the Vercors massif – the largest action by the French Resistance during the Second World War.

Lord Ashdown has received national recognition for his services by his 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.

He is the current Chair of the Liberal Democrats 2015 General Election Team.

Lord Ashdown talks are highly respected and, what is more, he has a warm, engaging approach, making him one of the best After Dinner Speakers for a wide range of corporate, media and political functions. To book Lord Ashdown for your event, contact Prime Performers Booking Agent via the online booking enquiry form or alternatively call 020 7251 8222.

To book Paddy Ashdown for your event, contact Prime Performers Booking Agent via the online booking enquiry form or alternatively call 020 7251 8222.