Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown dies aged 77
Tributes have been paid to the politician who died following a short battle with cancer
Tributes have poured in from across politics for former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown, who has died aged 77 following a short illness.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie joined Theresa May and former Prime Minister John Major in hailing the dedication and decency of the politician and former commando, who passed away on Saturday evening.
Mr Ashdown, who was credited with making the Lib Dems a significant third force in politics during his tenure between 1988 and 1999, had announced he was suffering from bladder cancer in November.
The party announced his passing, saying he would be remembered "as someone who made an immeasurable contribution to furthering the cause of liberalism".
Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie said:"Paddy Ashdown was an inspiration to so many people and I am proud to count myself as one of them.
"In a few short years his fighting spirit and clarity of thought took the party from the wreckage of the SDP Liberal merger to the strongest liberal force since the first world war.
"Paddy had time for everyone, guided and nurtured the party, converted even the fiercest foe and committed his heart and soul to the success of the liberal ideal."
He added: "From the first moment I met him whilst working for the party in Cornwall I followed him on a great journey. Thank you Paddy. My thoughts are with Jane and the family."
Tributes also came in from his former political opponents, with Sir John Major saying he was "a man of duty, passion, and devotion to the country he loved - right up to the very end".
Current Prime Minister Theresa May said Lord Ashdown had "served his country with distinction", adding: "He dedicated his life to public service and he will be sorely missed."