‘Marxist’ who came back to lead No campaign to win
Before joining the Labour Party at the age of 23 in 1977, Mr Darling flirted with far-left politics, reportedly handing out “Marxist” propaganda leaflets as a student in Aberdeen.
After a successful stint as a lawyer, becoming a solicitor in 1978, Mr Darling was elected as councillor to the Lothian Regional Council in 1982 – memorably supporting large rates rises in defiance of Margaret Thatcher’s rate-capping laws.
Mild-mannered Mr Darling was elected as a Labour MP in 1987, quickly rising through the party’s ranks in a number of roles on the shadow front benches, including as home affairs spokesman.
After Labour’s landslide 1997 election win, he was appointed chief secretary to the Treasury, putting in place wide-ranging financial regulation reforms after the collapses of Barings and BCCI. Mr Darling was hand-picked by newly elected PM Gordon Brown to take over as chancellor in 2007.
In the summer of 2008, he memorably predicted the worst financial crisis in 60 years, warning it would be “more profound and long-lasting than people thought.”
As MP for Edinburgh South West, Mr Darling made a surprise return to front-line politics to lead the pro-Union Better together campaign.
Speaking to a packed conference following his side’s victory in the independence referendum, he announced: “You represent the majority of opinion. Your voices have been heard. We have taken on the argument and won. The silent have spoken.”