Lib Dems’ Ashdown in cancer battle
Former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Paddy Ashdown is being treated for bladder cancer.
Lord Ashdown, one of the Westcountry’s most important politicians of recent years who led the Lib Dems between 1988 and 1999, said he had been recently diagnosed with the disease.
The ex-Royal Marines officer, 77, credited with re-building the Lib Dems as a powerful political force, particularly in the South West, said the course of the disease was “unpredictable”.
He said: “I have known for about three weeks that I am suffering from a cancer of the bladder.
“I’m being effectively and wonderfully looked after by everyone at Yeovil Hospital, in whom I have complete confidence.
“We must see about the outcome, which as always with things like this, is unpredictable.
“I’ve fought a lot of battles in my life.
“This time I am lucky enough to have the magnificent help of our local hospital, and my friends and family, and that gives me great confidence.”
Prime Minister Theresa May
said: “I’m very sorry to hear that Lord Ashdown is being treated for cancer.
“I wish him all the best for a speedy recovery.”
Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable tweeted: “My best wishes for a speedy recovery to Paddy Ashdown, one of the great British political figures of the past 30 years and the man who built the Lib Dems into a Parliamentary force. Love to Paddy, Jane and their family.”
Ex-Lib Dem leader Tim Farron tweeted: “Paddy has been a hero and mentor of mine for many years. He saved the party during its darkest hour and led it to its greatest successes. My love and warmest wishes are with Paddy, Jane and the whole family at this time.”
Born in India, Lord Ashdown’s family returned to the UK when he was four, settling in a farm in Ulster.
He saw active service as a commando in Borneo and the Persian Gulf.
And after special forces training, he joined what was then called the Special Boat Section in the Far East.
He entered Parliament as MP for Yeovil in 1983 and became party leader five years later.
Lord Ashdown is credited with making the Lib Dems a significant third force in politics during the 1990s.
After leaving the Commons, Lord Ashdown served as High Commissioner for Bosnia Herzegovina between 2002 to 2006.
Former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown has been diagnosed with bladder cancer, he revealed