Paddy Ashdown and Tricia Howard
Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1988 to 1999, Paddy Ashdown earned the nickname Paddy Pantsdown after revelations of his five-month affair with his secretary, Tricia Howard. Just before the News of the World got hold of the story in 1992, Ashdown, having initially considered an injunction to halt publication, decided instead ‘to grab the initiative and break it [himself]‘. On 6 February that year, he took the rare move of holding a hastily convened press conference at Westminster, in which he openly admitted the affair. He later posed for photo of he and his wife in front of their family home.
In 1992 following the press becoming aware of a stolen document relating to a divorce case, he disclosed a five-month affair with his secretary, Patricia Howard, five years earlier. He and his marriage weathered the political and tabloid storm, with his wife of 30 years forgiving him. The revelation of his affair sparked the front page headline “It’s Paddy Pantsdown” from The Sun newspaper on 6 February 1992.