Lord Paddy Ashdown KBC

Former leader of the Liberal Democrats (1988-1999)

Lord Paddy Ashdown KBC photo Copyright © Marco Secchi

The Rt. Hon. Paddy Ashdown is one of the country's best known and most respected political figures. Born in New Delhi, Paddy spent his childhood between India and Britain. Between 1959 and 1972 he served as a Royal Marines Officer and saw active service as a Commando Officer in Borneo and the Persian Gulf. After Special Forces Training in England in 1965, he commanded a Special Boat Section in the Far East. He went to Hong Kong in 1967 to undertake a full-time course in Chinese, returning to England in 1970 with a First Class interpretership in Mandarin. He was then given command of a Commando Company in Belfast.

In 1972 Paddy Ashdown left the Royal Marines and joined the Foreign Office. He was posted to the British Mission to the United Nations in Geneva where he was responsible for Britain's relations with a number of United Nations organisations and took part in the negotiation of several international treaties and agreements between 1974 and 1976.

Shortly after entering Parliament in the 1983 General Elections, Paddy was appointed as the Liberal spokesman on Trade and Industry Affairs within the Liberal/SDP Alliance team at the House of Commons. He became Education spokesman in January 1987. He was elected Leader of the Liberal Democrats in July 1988 and was appointed as a Privy Councilor on 1 January 1989.

Paddy Ashdown stood down as the leader of the Liberal Democrats in 1999 and retired from the Commons in 2001. He was made a KBE in 2000 and a peer in 2001. In 2002 Paddy was appointed the International Community's High Representative and European Union's Special representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a post he held for nearly four years to 2006, when he returned to Britain and was awarded the GCMG for his work in the country.

Paddy has written over half a dozen books; Citizen's Britain, Beyond Westminster, The Ashdown Diaries Volumes One and Two, Swords and Ploughshares, his autobiography, A Fortunate Life and Game of Spies: the Secret Agent, the Traitor and the Nazi. He currently writes articles on foreign affairs matters, especially Afghanistan and Bosnia, for national newspapers and periodicals and is now acknowledged as one of the foremost experts on the Balkans region in Europe.

In addition to his regular appearances on current affairs programmes such as Question Time, Lord Paddy Ashdown has a wealth of experience in presenting, speaking and lecturing to audiences at both a national and international level.

In a recent Sunday Times interview on leadership, Lord Ashdown comments, “There are two pre-eminent qualities a leader must have. Courage first, and I mean moral not physical courage. Without that, when a crisis comes all your other gifts vanish like the morning dew. Second, loyalty. In almost all circumstances, you have to have loyalty to the people above you and below you. My definition of leadership is the ability to maximise the resources you have in the circumstances you find yourself in”.

Speech Topics

Public speaking topics include:
• Europe, Trump, Brexit - where are we now, what does it mean for business and what happens next?
• The global power shift – global economics & politics.

Recent talks include:
• PLSA - ‘Why the world will never be the same again and what we should do about it’.
• The Milken Institute - ‘Can Terrorism in Europe be defeated’
• BSRIA Annual Lunch.
• The Economist’s Leadership Summit - ‘Europe, North Africa and the Middle East: Our Common Future.’
• Institute of Directors.
• Association of University Directors of Estates
• TED ‘ The Global Power Shift’


Considering booking Lord Paddy Ashdown KBC for your event? You may find the following client testimonials and comments helpful. To enquire further about Lord Paddy Ashdown KBC for corporate and private bookings, click here or call us on +44 (0)1372 361 004.

The feedback received from delegates about the conference as a whole, the programme and the standard of speaker presentations, has been extremely positive and is in no small way due to Paddy’s contribution.

Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association.

Inspirational and charismatic, Paddy uses humour and storytelling in delivering a truly captivating and interactive speech.

National Housing Federation.

Books and DVDs

Below you'll find products by Lord Paddy Ashdown KBC which may be available for purchase. Click the image to view on Amazon’s website. Clients often like to purchase books and other merchandise as autographed give-aways at events where Lord Paddy Ashdown KBC is appearing. For bulk purchases, please speak with the Booking Agent handling your event.

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Lord Paddy Ashdown KBC

Former leader of the Liberal Democrats (1988-1999)

Really pleased with the service that we got from NMP Live Ltd.

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