FRAMED IN TIME

History was made on June 9, 1983 when two residents of the tiny village of Ettrickbridge were returned to Westminster as MPs.

There had been no doubt that David Steel would return from this general election as the MP for Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale. The outcome in the Roxburgh and Berwickshire constituency was much less certain. A parliamentary re-vamp had seen these two seats carved from the former constituencies of Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles and the Berwickshire and East Lothian seats.

At 2.50am in the Victoria Halls in Selkirk, Steel was confirmed as a safe victor. Forty minutes returning officer Ken Clarke declared, in front of a nationwide TV audience, that Kirkwood, 37, had made it a double for the Lib/SDP Alliance – and for Ettrickbridge. Judy Steel is seen looking on with obvious delight as her husband, David, congratulated their neighbour.

It had been an amazing victory for Kirkwood and the Alliance. Tory junior minister Iain Sproat had walked away from his Aberdeen South seat, fearful of defeat, to seek what his party considered the safer option of the Borders. Kirkwood’s majority was 3,396 and he secured 50.34 per cent of the vote.

It had been announced just minutes before the Kirkwood declaration that former Border Conservative candidate Gerald Malone had won the Aberdeen seat that Sproat had quit.

Nationally it was a disappointing night for the Alliance. Although securing a quarter of the vote they returned only 23 MPs. Margaret Thatcher was back with a majority of 144.

Steel and Kirkwood now sit in the House of Lords.

Compiled by Bob Burgess