DAVID Steel celebrated his 80th birthday at the weekend.

Lord Steel was the longest serving MP in the Borders – representing the region for 32 years.

He and his wife Judy had planned a large dinner on Saturday for relatives and friends at Aikwood Tower.

But due to Judy’s ill health, the couple met with family for lunch in Edinburgh.

Lord Steel was Leader of the Liberal Party from 1976 to 1988 when he co-founded the Liberal Democrats with Roy Jenkins. He was the founding presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament from 1999 to 2003.

He raised to the peerage when he retired from the Commons in 1997 – as Lord Steel of Aikwood. A 30-minute programme will be shown on ITV Border to mark his birthday on Friday at 8pm.

It was recorded recently at Aikwood Tower which the Steels restored in 1992 and which is now owned and run as a letting venue by their son Rory and his wife Vicki.