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Paddy Ashdown backs Norman Lamb for Lib Dem leader

Former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown has endorsed Norman Lamb to be the next Liberal Democrat leader.

Lord Ashdown, who led the Lib Dems from 1988 to 1999, admitted it was "hard to chose" between Lamb and his rival Tim Farron, but that it was "decision time"

Lib Dem party members will decide Nick Clegg's successor in a leadership election the July 16.

Mr Clegg stood down as party leader after the Lib Dems defeat in the general election in May.


Charles Kennedy 'brought wit and charm to politics'

Charles Kennedy brought "wit, charm, principle and decency" to British politics, Paddy Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader, has said.

Paddy Ashdown: If exit poll is right, I'll eat my hat

Paddy Ashdown has vowed to "eat" his hat if an exit poll predicting a disastrous night for the Liberal Democrats is proved right.

Paddy Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader. Credit: PA Wire

An exit poll made the Conservatives the largest single party with the Lib Dems predicted to win just 10 seats.

Speaking to the BBC's Andrew Neil, Mr Ashdown said: "If this exit poll is right Andrew, I will publicly eat my hat on your programme."

Ashdown: Islamic State is a 'a convulsion of barbarity'

There is a "convulsion of barbarity" that will destabilise the whole of the Middle East and could, "in due time" strike the West as well, Lord Ashdown told Good Morning Britain.

The former Liberal Democrat leader warned IS posed a "real case of wider threat", but tried to reassure voters airstrikes were legal and the UK had been invited to join the coalition by the Iraqi government.

Inquest: Driver died in crash with car carrying Lord Ashdown

An inquest has heard how a driver died when he lost control of his vehicle and careered into a car carrying Lord Ashdown and his wife before hitting a van.

Mark Hurford, 49, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, the A356 at Turnpike Cross, Somerset, on January 24 this year.

Lord Ashdown's statement was read at the inquest. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Archive/Press Association Images

An inquest was read witness statements from Paddy and Jane Ashdown, who had been travelling to their home in Norton-sub-Hamdon.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown said his wife had picked him up in her silver Renault Scenic from Crewkerne Railway Station at 4.50pm.

"One mile from home I heard my wife exclaim loudly," he said in a statement.

"At the same time, there was a massive crash and a jolt to the car.

East Somerset Coroner's Court heard Mr Hurford, of Crewkerne, was more than two-and-a-half times the drink drive limit as he drove home from work at 5pm.


Ashdown warns Lib Dems 'stop it now' after plot

Former Lib Dem leader Lord Ashdown warned the party to "stop it now" after a "plot of deep malice" to remove Nick Clegg was revealed.

Lord Ashdown told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, "Anything you do now which is not getting out on the street, campaigning in the context of the next General Election ... is distraction and a dangerous distraction."

Former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown on The Andrew Marr Show. Credit: BBC/The Andrew Marr Show

He said the Lib Dems have to "get out and start campaigning for the next election" following disappointing results at the local and European elections.

Ashdown: Intelligence technologies 'out of control'

Former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown was a special forces soldier before entering politics. Credit: PA

The technology used by Britain's intelligence agencies is "out of control", former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown has warned.

Lord Ashdown, a former special forces soldier and spy, called for an inquiry to address questions of privacy in the digital age.

He said surveillance should be targeted against individuals or groups, not against "the whole nation" as recent operations exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden were.

But in an interview with The Guardian, which has revealed details of the activities of British eavesdropping agency GCHQ based on documents disclosed by US intelligence whistleblower Mr Snowden, Lord Ashdown defended the right of the state to intercept communications.

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