Alistair Darling

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Alistair Darling, MP

Alistair Darling was a Labour Party MP for Edinburgh South West from 1987 to 2015, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer and a director of the Better Together campaign during the referendum for Scottish independence in 2014.

Darling stood down at the 2015 general election and was replaced by Ricky Henderson, who lost the seat to the Scottish National Party's Joanna Cherry by 8,135 votes.[1]


Darling is a great-nephew of Sir William Darling, Scottish Unionist MP for Edinburgh South 1945-57.[2]

Alistair Darling entered parliament in 1987. He was the Opposition home affairs spokesman from 88-92. Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 1996-7 and Chief Secretary to the Treasury after Labour's election victory in 1997-8.

In 1998, he became Work and Pensions Secretary, a position he held until 2002. On Stephen Byers resignation, he became transport secretary which he held until becoming Trade and Industry Secretary in May 2006.

Acccording to a BBC profile, Darling was “regarded as one of Tony Blair's most trusted colleagues, despite keeping a foot firmly in the Gordon Brown camp”.[3]

Darling was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer by Gordon Brown in June 2007 and remained in this position until Labour lost the UK general election in May 2010. He is currently Shadow Chancellor. For a full biography, see Alistair Darling's website.

Nuclear views

We Cannot Ignore Nuclear

Soon after becoming Trade and Industry Secretary, Alistair Darling gave a speech to the Fabian Society on Energy. He said that "nuclear cannot be ignored. It generates a substantial part of our electricity now – much of it baseload." [4]

We Can't Turn Our Back on Nuclear

Soon after Darling confirmed that the Government will not turn its back on nuclear power. Darling told the Commons at question time: "Nuclear waste is one aspect that needs to be looked at. Nuclear has provided us with a baseload supply of electricity. It represents about 19% of electricity generation at the moment. If we don't do anything it will go down to between 6% and 7% in the next 20 years or so. It is something that does need to be considered and I don't believe we can simply turn our back on that."[5]

If We Do the Lights Will Go Out

In an interview with The Guardian in June 2006, Darling gave the strongest hint yet of his support for nuclear. "We run a serious risk that some day someone will go into the living room, flick the switch and and nothing will happen because we do not have the capability to generate any energy from any source at all," said Darling, adding that nuclear had to be part of the mix to avoid the lights going out. His comments would "delight" the nuclear industry, reported The Guardian[6].

So Let's Go Nuclear

On July 11, 2006, Alistair Darling, the Trade and Industry Secretary, gave the green light to a new generation of nuclear power plants, saying that nuclear power would make a "significant contribution" to cutting carbon emissions and Britain's energy needs.[7]


In October 2010, Darling received a fee of £9,350 for addressing the Association for Financial Markets in Europe. Hours: 6-7 hours approx. (Registered 2 November 2010)


  • Alistair Darling, Back from the Brink: 1000 Days at Number 11, London, Atlantic Books. 2011


  1. BBC News Edinburgh South West], accessed 14 May 2015.
  2. Sarah Priddy, PIL: Current Members Related to Other Current or Former Members - Commons Library Standard Note, 13 September 2013.
  3. BBC, Alistair Darling - Profile, 5 May 2006.
  4. The Rt. Hon. Alistair Darling MP, To The Fabian Society, 5 June 2006.
  5. The Institution of Engineering and Technology, Darling Pressed on Nuclear Power, 13 June 2006.
  6. Terry Macalister and Patrick Wintour, "Energy Review - The Lights Will Go Out If We Avoid the Nuclear Option, says Darling", The Guardian, 28 June 2006
  7. Matthew Tempest, "Nuclear Power to Make 'Significant Contribution', Says Darling", The Guardian, 11 July 2006.