Tributes pour in after former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown dies aged 77
Tributes have poured in for former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown who died last night aged 77.
A party spokesman said he had passed away following "following a short illness".
They added: "He will be desperately missed by everyone at the Liberal Democrats as a dear friend and colleague, and remembered as someone who made an immeasurable contribution to furthering the cause of liberalism."
Lord Ashdown last month revealed he had been diagnosed with bladder cancer.
Speaking at the time he said: “We must see about the outcome, which as always with things like this, is unpredictable. I've fought a lot of battles in my life.
"This time I am lucky enough to have the magnificent help of our local hospital, and my friends and family, and that gives me great confidence."
Following the news of his death, tributes poured in on social media for the political heavyweight.
Current Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable tweeted that it was “a hugely sad day for the Liberal Democrats and for the very many people across political and public life who had immense affection and respect for @paddyashdown.
“He was famous for his politics but his talents extended well beyond that arena. RIP.”
Theresa May wrote: “It is with great sadness that I have learned of the passing of Lord Ashdown.
“He dedicated his life to public service and he will be sorely missed. My thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
Former Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to his “energy and dynamism”, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he had “got to know him in the 1980s” when he said the pair had often voted “in parliament together against damaging government policies”.
In a statement, ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair said: “He was one of the most talented politicians never to hold high office but as Leader of the Liberal Democrats he nonetheless had a major impact on British political life.”
Lord Ashdown led the Liberal Democrats from 1988 to 1999, making him the longest serving leader in the party’s history.