Lib Dems’ Ash­down in cancer bat­tle

Western Morning News (Saturday) - - Front Page -

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

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