Scotland's longest-serving councillor bows out after six decades 

Dundee's Lord Provost, 83-year-old Ian Borthwick, has retired after nearly 60 years of council service.

Dundee council veteran Ian Borthwick, 83, bows out after six decades of service STV News
Ian Borthwick first became a councillor in 1963.

Scotland’s longest-serving councillor has retired after nearly 60 years of service.

Dundee’s Lord Provost, 83-year-old Ian Borthwick, was first elected to Dundee Town Council in 1963, representing Labour for the Dudhope ward.

The year he became a councillor, aged 24, construction work had started on the Tay Road Bridge and The Beatles played the Caird Hall in the city.

The former Lord Provost felt compelled to help people in his ward.

He told STV News: “I stood first in 1961, unsuccessful, 62 unsuccessful, and then 63 successful. 26 votes in the same area.

“Then in 1964, the redistribution, and I was asked to go to Downfield, St. Mary’s, and that’s where I’ve been ever since.

“What I was aware of was the very poor housing that existed.

“I’ll always remember I went down to see this lady and she had her pram in the back garden. And it must’ve been a rat, had bitten her child in the pram. So that was the kind of situation you got.”

Three years after his election success and while serving as police convener, he was also voted to serve as a magistrate at Dundee Crime and Police Court.

He said: “That was for about 16, 17 years I was on the bench. Sometimes it was trying – but you did it.

“What I found in many cases is you had to see beyond the person presented, and I think the term that people use as far as my responsibilities or discharging my responsibilities was firm but fair, and that’s it.”

In 1987, Ian stepped away from Labour to stand as an Independent for Strathmartine, Angus.

He added: “It was difficult, there were one or two issues that I took issue with. It was the first waterfront development which came to nothing.

“There was a building of a school that we’d promised and then the next thing, ‘we’re not doing it’.

“That was in my area so there were issues like that. I took a chance, I didn’t know how people would react publicly. But it all made for a bigger majority.”

After almost six decades involved in helping run the city, the 83-year-old feels Dundee has a bright future in years to come.

He added: “The important thing is…look after your constituents, respect them, do what you can. This is important, policies and everything else but that’s the foundation.

“How do I think the city’s going to progress? I think it is going forward and I hope the momentum is maintained. We can have a crisis but I think with commitment on the part of everybody then we can overcome that to make this city a better place.”