Paddy Ashdown admits he was a bad Victorian father and not very

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. He said the problem was particularly rife within politicians’ children. “[They] have terrible stories; far too many of them really suffer as a result,” he said.“I think my family could have suffered, that they didn’t is wholly down to the fact that my wife made sure that they didn’t. She carried that burden.”He blamed his “goal-driven” attitude while he was trying to win his Yeovil seat, which he eventually gained in 1983, and admitted he was only concentrating on what he was trying to achieve. “Looking back on my life I would say that I am very goal driven and the result is that whilst I’m fiercely concentrating on what I’m trying to achieve I am not very sensitive to those around me, especially the closest around me and the impact of what I’m doing has on them,” he said.“In the days when I was trying to win my seat, [I was] probably too insensitive to be able to understand what I should have been doing. I look back on that with regret.”He previously added that he “learnt several things” about fatherhood “much too late”. Paddy Ashdown had admitted he was a bad “Victorian” father and said his family would have suffered if his wife hadn’t carried the burden while he tried to win his seat.The former Liberal Democrat party leader, 75, revealed he was “not very sensitive” to his family’s needs and said he regularly tried to impose his will on his two children, Simon and Katharine.Speaking at the Henley Literary Festival, he said his family would have suffered had his wife not stepped in, adding that he regretted how he acted, including not giving his children enough space to grow. “I think I was not a very good father, I think I was a bit of a Victorian father, I tried to impose my will on my kids,” he said. “They soon told me I couldn’t.” [I was] probably too insensitive to be able to understand what I should have been doing. I look back on that with regretLord Ashdown Lord Ashdown previously admitted his wife, Jane, knew about a liaison he had with his former secretary Tricia Howard in 1985.The affair was reported in the run-up to the 1992 election and his family supported him through the scandal.He later wrote in his memoir: “If it hadn’t been for her [Jane’s] calm centre I would have got into all sorts of trouble.”last_img