David Steel’s long goodbye

Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, turned out for a long-delayed farewell party for David Steel in the River Room in the Palace of Westminster.

Lord Steel, who 41 years ago famously instructed Alliance activists to “go back to your constituencies and prepare for government”, resigned from the Lords after an independent inquiry into child sexual abuse accused him of turning a “blind eye” as leader of the old Liberal party to the behaviour of the late Cyril Smith, but many of Steel’s friends regarded his treatment as unfair and blighting an otherwise distinguished political career.

Peers from all sides of the Lords attended the reception and dinner. Steel, now 84, set off from his home in Scotland at 11am, but delays on the rail network following the heatwave meant he only made it to his own party at 7.30pm.