LORD Paddy Ashdown has been diagnosed with bladder cancer, he said today.

The 77-year-old former Liberal Democrat leader discovered he had the illness three weeks ago.

Mr Ashdown told Somerset Live: "I have known for about three weeks that I am suffering from a cancer of the bladder.

"I’m being effectively and wonderfully looked after by everyone at Yeovil Hospital, in whom I have complete confidence.

"We must see about the outcome, which as always with things like this, is unpredictable.

“I’ve fought a lot of battles in my life. 

“This time I am lucky enough to have the magnificent help of our local hospital, and my friends and family, and that gives me great confidence.”

Lord Ashdown served as leader of the Liberal Democrat party from 1988 to 1999.

A spokesman for The Liberal Democrats, said: "We were all deeply saddened to find out our former leader Paddy Ashdown is being treated for bladder cancer.

"The whole Lib Dem family is wishing Paddy a speedy recovery."

Former Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron added: "Paddy has been a hero and mentor of mine for many years

"He saved the party during its darkest hour and led it to its greatest successes. My love and warmest wishes are with Paddy, Jane and the whole family at this time."

Vince Cable, LibDem leader, said: "My best wishes for a speedy recovery to Paddy Ashdown, one of the great British political figures of the past 30 years and the man who built the Lib Dems into a parliamentary force. Love to Paddy, Jane and their family."