expert on international & uk politics
Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon is the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, and one of the UK's most well-respected political thinkers, both on domestic issues and in the international sphere.
He served in the Royal Marines for 13 years, during which time he saw action as a Commando Officer in Borneo and the Persian Gulf. He also commanded a Special Boat Section in the Far East and became fluent in Mandarin. He joined the Foreign Office in 1972, serving in the British Mission to the UN from 1972-76. He entered parliament in 1983 and was elected leader of the Liberal Democrats in 1988 – a position he held for eleven years.
During the Balkan conflict of the mid-1990s, he was a strong advocate for international action to bring the conflict to a close. Between 2002 and 2006, he was the International Community High Representative and the European Union Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He also appeared for the prosecution in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
A vocal pro-European, he is president of the European Movement, an independent, cross-party organisation committed to keeping the UK in the EU.
He has been president of UNICEF UK since 2009, contributes frequently to UK newspapers and is the author of nine books.
Lord Ashdown is a superb orator, drawing on a lifetime of experience at the highest level of political policy-making to deliver insights on critical international and UK issues.
He was a passionate pro-Remain campaigner in the run up to the British Brexit vote, and has since continued to be a prominent voice advocating that Britain keep as close ties with the EU as possible.