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Ex-PMs line up to pay tribute to Paddy Ashdown

At your service: Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, David Cameron and Sir John Major PICTURE: PA

PADDY ASHDOWN was a man for ‘ideals, not shabby deals’, a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey in honour of the former Liberal Democrat leader heard yesterday.

Former Tory prime minister Sir John Major paid tribute to the ‘spontaneous optimist’ as he addressed a congregation that included fellow ex- premiers Tony Blair, David Cameron and Gordon Brown.

‘A man for ideals’: Ex-Lib Dem leader Lord Paddy Ashdown

Describing Lord Ashdown as a ‘political opponent who became a friend’, Sir John said: ‘Not one moment of Paddy’s life was ever wasted.’

Lord Ashdown died aged 77 last December, two months after revealing he was being treated for bladder cancer.

The service was also attended by outgoing Commons speaker John Bercow and wife Sally (above). Sir Nick Clegg gave a reading.