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by Ruaraidh Gilmour
30 November 2023
Former Chancellor Alistair Darling dies aged 70

Alistair Darling | Alamy

Former Chancellor Alistair Darling dies aged 70

Former Chancellor Alistair Darling has died at the age of 70.

Darling, who navigated the UK through the 2008 financial crisis, died after a short spell in hospital.

He served in cabinet under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for 13 years, most notably as Chancellor of the Exchequer between 2007 and 2010.  

In 2015, Darling was nominated for a peerage, becoming Baron Darling of Roulanish. He retired from the House of Lords in 2020, citing distance and the pandemic.  

A statement issued on behalf of his family said: "Mr Darling, the much-loved husband of Margaret and beloved father of Calum and Anna, died after a short spell in Western General Hospital under the wonderful care of the cancer team."

Leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer said: "Alistair lived a life devoted to public service. He will be remembered as the chancellor whose calm expertise and honesty helped to guide Britain through the tumult of the global financial crisis.

"He was a lifelong advocate for Scotland and the Scottish people and his greatest professional pride came from representing his constituents in Edinburgh.

"I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have benefited from Alistair's counsel and friendship. He was always at hand to provide advice built on his decades of experience - always with his trademark wry, good humour."

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "I am deeply saddened by the news of the death of Alistair Darling.  Alistair will be remembered as a statesman of unimpeachable integrity whose life was defined by a strong sense of social justice and who gained a global reputation for the assured competence and the exercise of considered judgement he brought to the handling of economic affairs.

"He started off as a very successful councillor before becoming a highly effective Member of Parliament for Edinburgh Central, a constituency he loved. He became best known as a popular and effective government minister, first as Work and Pensions, Transport, and Industry Secretary and from 2007 to 2010 as Chancellor of the Exchequer where he guided the Treasury and the United Kingdom through traumatic financial events.

"As the Chair of the Better Together campaign for the 2014 Scottish referendum he was resolute and courageous in making the case for Scotland's place in the United Kingdom.

"He was held in the highest esteem by me and all who worked with him for the way in which he handled the fall of the major banks and negotiated international agreements with fellow finance ministers. I, like many, relied on his wisdom, calmness in a crisis and his humour.

"Alistair’s family were central to everything he did. I send my deepest condolences to his loving wife Maggie and their children Calum and Anna. He will be missed by all who knew and respected him and benefited from the great work he did."

First Minister Humza Yousaf said: "I am deeply saddened at Alistair Darling’s passing. He dedicated his life to public service, and was a giant of Scottish and UK politics. As Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair played a central role in stabilising the financial system after the banking crash, both at home and abroad.

"I disagreed with Alistair on big political issues, but what is much more important is the courteous and respectful manner with which he conducted himself throughout his political career. He will be hugely missed from our public life.

"My thoughts are with his wife, Margaret, his children, family, and many friends and colleagues at this sad time."

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