Paddy Ashdown GCMG KBE is one of the country's best known and most respected political figures. He is currently running the Liberal Democrats 2015 General Election campaign. Born in New Delhi, Paddy spent his childhood between India and Britain. Joining the Royal Marines in 1959, he became a member of the Special Boat Service before studying Mandarin at Hong Kong University and spending five years as a British diplomat.
Paddy entered the House of Commons in 1983 as Liberal MP for Yeovil. In 1988 he became the first leader of the merged Liberal and Social Democratic Party, a post he held for 11 years. Paddy was knighted in 2000 and entered the House of Lords a year later. Paddy was one of the leading advocates for decisive action by the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He became High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2002 until 2006.
In 2012 Paddy presented the BBC documentary The Cockleshell Heroes, based on his book A Brilliant Little Operation. His new book The Cruel Victory marking the 70th anniversary of Vercors in 1944 will be published in June 2014.
Amongst many speech themes Paddy talks about UK and global politics, conflict resolution and the new multi-polar global power structure.