Former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown dies aged 77

General Election Campaign and former leader of the Liberal Democrats Paddy Ashdown speaks at the party's spring conference in Brighton

General Election Campaign and former leader of the Liberal Democrats Paddy Ashdown speaks at the party's spring conference in Brighton

Paddy Ashdown, a former leader of the Liberal Democrats, soldier and diplomat, has died aged 77 after a short illness, his party has said.

Lord Ashdown was diagnosed with bladder cancer in October and passed away on Saturday (December 22nd).

He branded his prognosis "unpredictable", declaring: "I've fought a lot of battles in my life".

Lord Ashdown was MP for Yeovil from 1983 to 2001, and leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1988 until 1999.

The former Welsh Lib Dem leader Lord Mike German said the death "leaves an vast hole in British politics".

"And he became a lifelong mentor, friend and guide".

Sir Vince Cable and past Lib Dem leaders joined Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and others including Tony Blair in hailing the dedication and decency of the politician and former commando, who passed away on Saturday evening.

He dedicated his life to public service and he will be sorely missed.

"He was one of the most talented politicians never to hold high office, but as leader of the Liberal Democrats he nonetheless had a major impact on British political life", said Blair, who was in power from 1997 to 2007.

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Tributes also came in from his former political opponents, with Sir John Major saying he was "a man of duty, passion, and devotion to the country he loved - right up to the very end".

"Like so many others, I will miss him terribly", said Clegg.

"He was the most heartfelt person I have known - loyal and generous to a fault".

Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the Liberal Democrats.

. We so desperately need more like him.

Mr Ford said that while Lord Ashdown was not involved in the "frontline efforts" that led to the Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland in 1998, he was "bringing the knowledge he had to bear in the background in Westminster to help that progress".

PA Wire/PA Images Paddy Ashdown campaigning for Remain in the 2016 referendum, alongside then-PM David Cameron and former Labour leader Neil Kinnock.

"He was my mate on the Backbench in the House of Lords".

He said Lady Ashdown and the rest of his family could be proud of his achievements, adding: "In government, Paddy Ashdown was my opponent".

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