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Ashdown, Paddy

Ashdown, Paddy ( Jeremy John Durham) (1941– ) British politician, first leader of the Social and Liberal Democrats (1988–99), b. India. Ashdown was a commander in the Royal Marines (1960–72), before becoming a diplomat. In 1983 he was elected to Parliament for the Liberal Party and quickly became a leading spokesman for the party. He succeeded David Steel, who stood down as Liberal leader when the merger with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) was formalized. Ashdown led the party into a closer relationship with the Labour Party. He was succeeded by Charles Kennedy.

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