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Alistair Darling


1953 -

Politician. Born in London, the son of a civil engineer, Darling was educated in Kirkcaldy and at Loretto School in Musselburgh, then read law at the University of Aberdeen. His great-uncle was Sir William Darling, who served as Conservative Member of Parliament for Edinburgh South (1945 - 1957). He served for a time as a solicitor, but was admitted to the Bar in 1984. His political career began as a Councillor in 1982, serving on the former Lothian Regional Council. In 1987, he was elected to the Westminster Parliament representing Edinburgh Central, a seat which became Edinburgh South West after 2005.

He was appointed Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury by Tony Blair in 1996 and continued in this role following the landslide Labour victory the following year. He then occupied a succession of roles in Government; namely Secretary of State for Social Security (1998 - 2001), Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (2001-02), Secretary of State for Transport (2002-06), Secretary of State for Scotland (2003-06), Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (2006-07) and finally Chancellor of the Exchequer (2007-10). Following the General Election of 2010 in which the Labour Party lost power, not least because of the economic crisis for which Darling received some criticism, he briefly continued as Shadow Chancellor before returning to the back benches.

Darling owns a cottage at Breaclete on Great Bernera in the Outer Hebrides, the island where his mother was raised.


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