Andrew Neil and the internet can’t persuade Paddy Ashdown to eat a hat

The Lib Dems may have lost the vote, but the 2015 general election will be remembered for Paddy Ashdown's Hat


First the Lib Dems failed to keep their promise on tuition fees, then former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown refused to honour his pledge to ‘eat his hat’. Isn’t politics fun?


To recap: when the surprise exit poll at the start of the election night forecast that the Lib Dems would lose 46 seats, Ashdown was flabbergasted. “If this exit poll is right I will publicly eat my hat,” he told BBC interviewer Andrew Neil.

Twitter tipped its cap to the Lib Dem stalwart, and within 45 minutes this had happened:

Paddy Ashdown’s Hat now has over 12,000 followers – a show of support the beleaguered Lib Dems are no doubt envious of.


However, Ashdown wasn’t the only one to put his clothing on the line. Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell said he’d eat his kilt if the result turned out as the exit poll predicted.

As the night wore on, that exit poll proved worryingly accurate.

Fast forward to the early hours of Friday morning, and it had become obvious that the Lib Dems had suffered a terrible night. At the time of writing they have lost 46 seats, with former cabinet ministers Vince Cable, Ed Davey and Danny Alexander all losing out in a brutal 24 hours.

And guess what? Someone in the BBC had found a hat…

Mmmm, tasty fedora.

Ashdown politely declined Neil’s offer, but added, “Ally [Alastair] Campbell followed this up with eating his kilt. So I’ll eat my hat, he can eat his kilt, we’ll do it as public display, in public humiliation, and we can sell tickets.


“That is the very last time I will question the BBC exit poll!” he added. So does that mean the political feeding frenzy could go on? See the full clip here.