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Scottish independence: Darling and Brown fix rift

Alistair Darling says he has healed the rift he had with Gordon brown and is enjoying working with him again. Picture: TSPL

Alistair Darling says he has healed the rift he had with Gordon brown and is enjoying working with him again. Picture: TSPL

  • by ANDREW WHITAKER
 

ALISTAIR Darling has said that working closely with Gordon Brown in the No campaign has healed the relationship between the two men that was badly damaged following a series of bitter clashes in the last Labour government.

Mr Darling told The Scotsman that there was now “no problem whatsoever” between the two senior Labour politicians as he indicated he had forgiven Mr Brown, whose behaviour he previously said was “appalling” at times during their period in power.

The former chancellor, in his first newspaper interview since his STV debate with Alex Salmond, also suggested the First Minister would come back stronger in the next televised clash on 25 August, but predicted the SNP would still struggle because of “weak” arguments on critical issues such as a currency union.

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The Labour MP for Edinburgh South West suggested he and Mr Brown had now resolved their rift after the former prime minister came out of semi-retirement to take up a leading role in the

Better Together campaign, which is led by Mr Darling.

Mr Darling, when asked if the two men’s relationship was back to where it was before he served as Mr Brown’s chancellor, said “absolutely” as he praised the former prime minister’s involvement in Better Together as well as United with Labour – the party’s own campaign against independence.

Mr Darling also confirmed that he would continue to work and remain in close contact with Mr Brown ahead of Labour’s General Election campaign next year and in future moves to extend devolution.

The former chancellor, in his memoirs Back from the Brink, wrote how he and Brown argued repeatedly about the April 2009 Budget, disagreeing about the Treasury growth forecasts which the then prime minister believed were far too negative.

In the book, Mr Darling talks of how a “permanent air of chaos and crisis” surrounded the Brown government and says the prime minister was guilty of “sometimes appalling behaviour”.

However, Mr Darling last night revealed that he and Brown had permanently put the bitter rift behind them after their experience of working together in the No campaign during the last few months.

 

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