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.

He told Somerset Live: "Yes, I'm afraid I can confirm that. 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."