40 Facts About Alistair Darling


Alistair Maclean Darling, Baron Darling of Roulanish, was born on 28 November 1953 and is a British politician who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Prime Minister Gordon Brown from 2007 to 2010.


From 2012 to 2014, Alistair Darling was the chairman of the Better Together Campaign, a cross-party group that successfully campaigned for Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom in the 2014 independence referendum.


On 3 November 2014, Alistair Darling announced that he was standing down at the 2015 general election.


Alistair Darling was nominated for a life peerage in the 2015 Dissolution Honours and was created Baron Darling of Roulanish, of Great Bernera in the County of Ross and Cromarty, on 1 December 2015.


Alistair Darling retired from the House of Lords in July 2020.


Alistair Darling was a vocal advocate for the Remain campaign for the EU referendum on 23 June 2016.


Alistair Darling was born in London the son of a civil engineer, Thomas, and his wife, Anna MacLean.


Alistair Darling was educated at Chinthurst School, in Tadworth, Surrey, then in Kirkcaldy, and at the private Loretto School, in Musselburgh.


Alistair Darling attended the University of Aberdeen, from where he graduated as a Bachelor of Laws.


Alistair Darling became the president of Aberdeen University Students' Representative Council.


Alistair Darling became a solicitor in 1978, then changed course for the Scots bar and was admitted as an advocate in 1984.


Alistair Darling served on the council until he was elected to the House of Commons.


Alistair Darling was a board member for the Lothian and Borders Police and became a governor of Napier College in 1985, until his election as an MP two years later.


Alistair Darling first entered Parliament at the 1987 general election in Edinburgh Central, defeating the incumbent Conservative MP, Sir Alexander Fletcher, by 2,262 votes; and remained an Edinburgh MP for 28 years until he stood down in 2015.


The Labour Party was so concerned that Alistair Darling might be defeated, that several senior party figures, including Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and Chancellor Gordon Brown, made encouragement trips to the constituency during the campaign.


Alistair Darling soon became an Opposition Home Affairs spokesman in 1988 on the front bench of Neil Kinnock.


Alistair Darling fronted the new department until 2002 when he was moved to the Department for Transport, after his predecessor Stephen Byers resigned.


Alistair Darling was given a brief to "take the department out of the headlines".


Alistair Darling oversaw the creation of Network Rail, the successor to Railtrack, which had collapsed in controversial circumstances for which his predecessor was largely blamed.


Alistair Darling was responsible for the Railways Act 2005 which abolished the Strategic Rail Authority, a creation of the Labour government under the Transport Act 2000.


Alistair Darling authorised the Bank of England to lend Northern Rock funds to cover its liabilities and provided an unqualified taxpayers' guarantee of the deposits of savers in Northern Rock to try to stop the run.


In March 2008, Alistair Darling's Budget was criticised in a media campaign spread by a social networking site.


On 12 March 2008, Alistair Darling gave his first budget in the House of Commons.


On 22 April 2009, Alistair Darling delivered his second budget speech in the House of Commons.


Gordon Brown confirmed on 10 March 2010 that Alistair Darling would deliver his final Third budget before the general election, which was delivered on 24 March 2010.


Alistair Darling was Chancellor of the Exchequer when the confidential personal details of over 25million British citizens went missing while being sent from his department to the National Audit Office.


However, Alistair Darling insisted that it was his duty to be "straight" with people.


In October 2008 the government bailed out the Royal Bank of Scotland as part of the 2008 bank rescue package; Alistair Darling said in 2018 that the country was hours away from a breakdown of law and order if the bank had not been bailed out.


In May 2009, The Daily Telegraph reported that Alistair Darling changed the designation of his second home four times in four years, allowing him to claim for the costs of his family home in Edinburgh, and to buy and furnish a flat in London including the cost of stamp duty and other legal fees.


Alistair Darling said that "the claims were made within House of Commons rules".


Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, criticised him by saying: "given that very unique responsibility that [Alistair Darling] has [as Chancellor], it's simply impossible for him to continue in that role when such very major question marks are being raised about his financial affairs".


Alistair Darling was supported by the Prime Minister, who referred to the incident as an inadvertent mistake.


Alistair Darling was the Chairman and one of the directors of the Better Together campaign, which campaigned for a "No" vote in the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence.


Alistair Darling was involved in the campaign's launch in June 2012, delivered a speech on the subject in the annual John P Mackintosh lecture in November 2012, and addressed a fringe meeting at the Scottish Conservative Conference in June 2013.


Alistair Darling was criticised by some Scottish Labour MPs and supporters who believed that working with Conservatives on the Better Together campaign might damage Labour's prospects in Scotland.


Alistair Darling was nominated for a peerage in the 2015 Dissolution Honours, becoming Baron Alistair Darling of Roulanish and taking his seat in the House of Lords on 10 December 2015.


On 28 July 2020, Lord Alistair Darling retired from the House of Lords, citing distance and the COVID-19 pandemic.


Alistair Darling had a brief previous marriage when young, but has been married to former journalist Margaret McQueen Vaughan since 1986; the couple have a son and daughter.


Alistair Darling's media adviser, the former Herald political journalist, Catherine MacLeod, is a close friend of Vaughan and Alistair Darling, as well as being a long-standing Labour Party supporter.


Alistair Darling enjoys listening to Pink Floyd, Coldplay, Leonard Cohen and the American rock band The Killers.