A FORMER leading Liberal Democrat councillor in the Cardigan area has paid tribute to Paddy Ashdown.

Mr Ashdown, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, died recently at the age of 77 following a short illness and former local councillor Mark Cole described him as ‘”an inspiration.”

“I met Paddy a number of times. He was a force of nature and an inspiration. He was a Marines man who was an internationalist to his core,” said Mark.

“He was not just an instinctive progressive at home as the indefatigable leader of the Liberal Democrats between 1988-1999 but proved his mettle in the international arena with his commitment to peace and democracy in the Balkans.

“His diaries were a riveting read for this novice liberal activist and when he launched his Balkans tome, ‘Swords & Ploughshares’ he kindly personally signed it for me at a party conference.

“He was respected across the political spectrum and his loss is magnified now at a time of Brexit when trust and faith in the political classes has hit rock bottom.

“His liberalism and his internationalism are needed now in 2018 more than ever. I salute the man, the leader, the human being.”