Ex-Borders MP’s son tells of devastation over death of guest following party at his Stow home

Claire MacCabe, 44, died following a party at Graeme Steel's Stow home at the weekend.
Claire MacCabe, 44, died following a party at Graeme Steel's Stow home at the weekend.

The son of former Borders MP Lord Steel of Aikwood has told of his devastation over the death of a birthday party guest at his Stow home at the weekend.

Claire MacCabe, 44, died in hospital in Edinburgh after falling ill at Graeme Steel’s house on Saturday.

Graeme Steel, one of former Borders MP David Steel's two sons.

Graeme Steel, one of former Borders MP David Steel's two sons.

Police say her death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious.

Mother-of-one Mrs MacCabe, of Haddington in East Lothian but originally from Northern Ireland, is reported to have taken unwell while using a hot tub at a party to mark the 52nd birthday of Mr Steel the day before.

Mr Steel, a builder and gardener, today issued a statement about what he described as an “awful situation”, saying: “The tragic death of Claire MacCabe has left me, my family and friends devastated.

“Matt has lost his wife, and their child has lost their mother. Words cannot express how we all feel about this loss.”

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Police in the Scottish Borders are investigating after a 44-year-old woman took unwell at an address in Stow during the evening of Saturday, September 1, before passing away at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary later that night.

“The death is currently being treated as unexplained but not suspicious, and inquiries are continuing.”

Mr Steel is one of Lord Steel and wife Judith’s three children.

As David Steel, his father, made a life peer in 1997, was MP for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles from 1965 to 1983 and then for Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale from 1983 to 1997, later serving as MSP for the Lothians from 1999 to 2003.

The Fife-born 80-year-old, now of Selkirk, was leader of the Liberal Party from 1976 to 1988 and was the first presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament, in that office from 1999 to 2003.