Lord Paddy Ashdown is the first headline speaker to be confirmed for the BMF All Industry Conference 2017, in Budapest next June.
A former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Paddy Ashdown now sits in the House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat peer, though his experience extends far beyond the bounds of domestic politics. Before entering Parliament in 1983 he served as a Special Forces Commando in the Royal Marines, then joined the Foreign Office where he was posted to the British Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, taking part in the negotiation of several international treaties.
Lord Ashdown retired from the House of Commons in 2001, the same year he was made a Life Peer. After stepping down as an MP his detailed understanding of the Balkans led to his appointment as UN High Representative and European Union Special Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the conflict in the region in the 1990s he was one of the leading advocates for decisive action by the international community, arguing that it would help bring the war to an early close.
Most recently, following the result of the UK’s Referendum on EU membership, Lord Ashdown helped to launch More United, a new movement setting out to change British politics. It aims to give a voice to “the millions of open minded and tolerant people in the UK” by helping to get more progressive politicians, from any party, elected in order to shift the balance in Parliament away from extremism.
John Newcomb, BMF MD said: “We are delighted that Paddy Ashdown will address BMF’s All Industry Conference next year. The current political landscape reflects our Conference theme of ‘Change, Challenge and Opportunity’. As a leading international political strategist Lord Ashdown is well placed to speak on the future of the UK outside the EU. I’m sure everyone will be keen to hear his thoughts on this and other issues and I have no doubt that his session will be one of the highlights of the Conference.”
“Paddy Ashdown follows in the footsteps of two leading political speakers at previous Conferences, Michael Portillo in 2013 and Alastair Campbell in 2015, which means that we will have had all three major parties, Conservative, Labour and now Liberal Democrat, represented at the BMF Conference.”
The BMF All Industry Conference will take place in Budapest from 15th to 18th June 2017 at the Intercontinental Hotel. Broadcaster and TV personality, Gethin Jones, will host the event, which has already sold out.
Further details are available on the Conference website: www.bmfconference2017.co.uk