Tributes have been paid by leading politicians to the “decency”, “wry humour” and “wisdom” of the former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling, after his family announced his death.
Darling, who served as chancellor when Gordon Brown was prime minister in the late 2000s, died after a “short spell in Western General Hospital under the wonderful care of the cancer team”, his family said in a statement.
Brown said in a statement: “I am deeply saddened by the death of Alistair Darling. I, like many relied on his wisdom, calmness in a crisis and his humour…He will be missed by all who knew him.”
Labour leader Keir Starmer said Darling had lived a life “devoted to public service”, and would be “remembered as the Chancellor whose calm expertise and honesty helped to guide Britain through the tumult of the global financial crisis”.
Darling was “always at hand to provide advice built on his decade of experience – always with his trademark wry, good humour”.
Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said: “Alistair was one of our great public servants who has left an enduring legacy on our country. As Chancellor, he showed extraordinary leadership and helped steward our economy during the global financial crisis.
“I will miss his advice and his counsel. But, more than anything I will miss his friendship, his kindness and decency, his humour and his warmth. My thoughts are with Maggie and their family today as they grieve their loss.”
Today our thoughts are with the friends, family and former colleagues of Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2007 – 2010. pic.twitter.com/IhduagobqF
— HM Treasury (@hmtreasury) November 30, 2023
Former prime minister Tony Blair said Darling was a rarity in that he “never met anyone who didn’t like him”, adding: “He was highly capable though modest, understated but never to be underestimated, always kind and dignified even under te intense pressure politics can generate.”
Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Pat McFadden praised his “great dry wit” and called him a “hugely valued Labour cabinet minister”.
Former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said Darling was “always generous of spirit and I enjoyed his quick wit”, eve if “we may have at times differed on economic strategy”.
Shadow Scotland Minister Ian Murray called him “the most decent, hardworking and principled man you could ever meet”.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said she saw his “steady, steely determination to protect people from economic and financial whirlwinds” working with him in the Treasury. His calm judgment was “vital” in the financial crisis.
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