Alistair Darling has announced that he will stand down as an MP at the next election. The Edinburgh South West MP has been in Parliament since 1987 and was one of only three people to hold Cabinet positions throughout the entire period Labour were in power between 1997 and 2010, becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2007. Darling was also Chair of the successful Better Together campaign, which successfully campaigned against Scottish independence in September’s referendum.
In an interview with the Financial Times (£), the former Secretary of State for Scotland also revealed that he is backing Jim Murphy for leader of the Scottish Labour Party, saying “Jim has the enthusiasm, the energy and above all he’s a fighter. For too long we have sat back when we needed to fight.”
Of the problems currently facing Scottish Labour, Darling said that he was frustrated the Party has failed to use victory in the referendum, where over two million people voted No, as a springboard for further success. Two polls this week indicated that Labour are on course to lose seats to the SNP next year.
“My frustration is that we actually won,” he said. “You can’t say it often enough. We made the arguments, we had confidence in ourselves.”
However, it appears Darling is not planning to leave frontline politics for good – he believes that a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU is now inevitable, regardless of who wins in 2015, and wants to use the insights he gained from Better Together to campaign for an in vote.