Paddy Ashdown announces his resignation as Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Ashdown had been contemplating standing down for some time and particularly since the Labour government’s negative response to the Jenkins Commission report on proportional representation, however when Ashdown made his announcement it came as a surprise to many of his colleagues. Ashdown records in his diary his discussion with Diana Maddock, then Party President, “She had expected the worse. Her first reaction was, ‘Goodness that’s a relief. I thought you might be about to announce we were going into coalition…’.”