Edinburgh South West, Labour
22 May 2022 12:00 AM

Darling, Alistair

22 May 2022

Overview

Born on November 28, 1953, in London, Alistair Darling is the son of a Conservative voting engineer and the great-nephew of a Conservative MP.

Despite this background, Darling went on to become a Labour MP in Edinburgh from 1987 to 2015. His most prominent role in government was as Gordon Brown’s Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2007 to 2010. During his time as Chancellor, Darling faced the 2007-2008 Financial Crisis.

Darling later went on to head the ‘Better Together’ campaign which won the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

Political Career

As a student activist, Darling reportedly distributed ‘Marxist’ leaflets at railway stations, but upon his election to parliament in 1987, he quickly left these more radical left-wing roots behind.

Prior to the 1997 election, Darling was first a member of the Opposition Home Affairs Team (1988-1992), then ‘Opposition Spokesman on the City and Financial Services’ (1992-1996) and, finally, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury (1996-1997).

Following ‘New Labour’s’ landslide win at the 1997 election, Darling was appointed to the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury—he held this post until 1998.

Darling is one of only three people to have served in the Labour Cabinet continuously from the 1997 election to the party’s defeat in 2010, the other two being Gordon Brown and Jack Straw.

Before being appointed Chancellor in 2007, Darling held the positions of Chief Secretary to the Treasury (1997-1998), Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions (1998-2002), Secretary of State for Transport (2002-2006), Secretary of State for Scotland (2003-2006) and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (2006-2007).

What is Alistair Darling doing now?

Darling became a member of the House of Lords in 2015 as Baron Darling of Roulanish. However he retired from the House of Lords in the summer of 2020, citing distance from his home in Edinburgh.

In 2015 Alistair Darling joined the Board of the bank Morgan Stanley, a far cry from the apparent early referenced Marxist leafleting of his youth.

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