David Steel, Baron Steel of Aikwood was born on 31 March 1938 in United Kingdom. In 1976 he was elected leader of the Liberal Party. Under his leadership the Liberals placed themselves firmly on the progressive wing of British Politics on all issues. He served as the Leader of the Liberal Party from 1976 until its merger with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the Liberal Democrats. His main legislative achievement was steering the Private Members Bill that was to reform the law on abortion in 1967.
He served as a Member of Parliament from 1965 to 1997 and as a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) from 1999 to 2003, during which time he was the parliament’s Presiding Officer. In 1997 he became a member of the House of Lords and was the Deputy Leader in the Lords. He was elected the Presiding Officer (speaker) of the Scottish Parliament. David retired from this position after the elections for the Scottish Parliament in 2003.
In 1989 he run in the elections for the European Parliament alongside Marco Pannella in a list set up in Italy thus becoming the first foreigner to run in a country different from his native one. David and Marco were good friends ever since and they frequently met as they campaigned for human rights and the rule of law, as they always did.