Memorial service for ex-Lib Dem leader Lord Paddy Ashdown

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Lord Paddy Ashdown was a man for “ideals, not shabby deals”, a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey in honour of the former Liberal Democrat leader has heard.

Tory ex-prime minister Sir John Major paid the glowing tribute to a man he said was a “spontaneous optimist” as he addressed a congregation that included fellow ex-premiers Tony Blair, David Cameron and Gordon Brown.

Lord Ashdown moved from India to Comber, Co Down with his family in 1945 when he was four years old and spent seven years there before they moved back to his father’s home country of England.

Although christened Jeremy John Durham Ashdown, his Northern Ireland accent earned him the nickname ‘Paddy’ at his English post-primary school. He eventually lost the accent, but in 2010 he said he counted himself “with great pride to be a Northern Irishman”.

Describing Lord Ashdown as a “political…

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