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Sir David Steel


(Lord Steel of Aikwood)

1938 -

Sir David Steel MSP
©2016 Gazetteer for Scotland

Sir David Steel MSP

Politician, author and speaker of the Scottish Parliament. Born in Kirkcaldy, Steel was the son of a church minister. He studied at the University of Edinburgh where he served as President of the Student Union, and later returned as Rector. He became the youngest Member of Parliament in 1965, representing the Borders constituency of Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (later Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale). Steel sponsored a controversial bill to reform the law on abortion (1966-7). He was Leader of the Liberal Party between 1976 and 1988, steering their merger with the Social Democratic party. Through his political manoeuvrings, Steel ensured the retention of a strong third force in British politics.

He was knighted in 1990, and was elevated to the House of Lords in 1997. A strong advocate of devolution, Steel became the first Presiding Officer (speaker) of the new Scottish Parliament in 1999, retiring in 2003.

His books include A House Divided (1980) and Mary Stuart's Scotland (1987).


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