comment

Alistair Darling was the surprise giant of the New Labour era

The former chancellor was the perfect politician to have in the Treasury on the day Lehman Brothers went up in smoke, writes John Rentoul

Thursday 30 November 2023 17:54 GMT
Comments
<p>Being seen as a Brownite took him to the department of work and pensions, which the then-chancellor Gordon Brown saw as part of his empire</p>

Being seen as a Brownite took him to the department of work and pensions, which the then-chancellor Gordon Brown saw as part of his empire

Alistair Darling was an unexpected giant of the New Labour government. At the start, he was chief secretary to the Treasury, one of the most junior members of the cabinet, thought to have secured the post because he was part of Gordon Brown’s party within a party.

In fact, he had supported Tony Blair for the leadership, in preference to Brown, and it was a tribute to his political skill that he was able to maintain a close relationship with both poles of the twin-axis government.

Being seen as a Brownite took him to the department of work and pensions, which the chancellor saw as part of his empire. Darling secured his reputation for competence and reliability when he was moved to transport, which he stabilised after the disruption of Stephen Byers’s exit – over problems that no one can now remember, and which seem trivial in comparison with the turbulence of the Tory years.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in