Darling wins 'most boring' title

TRAINS may still be late and traffic jams longer - but Alistair Darling has achieved one target set for him as Transport Secretary. He was yesterday voted the most boring politician in Britain.

Fending off stiff competition from Iain Duncan Smith, the Conservative leader, Mr Darling took the title after securing just over 2,500 votes in a poll held by CyberBritain.com, a data marketing firm.

The victory satisfies the unofficial task set for him when he took over from Stephen Byers last May: to take transport out of the headlines by starving the press of personality stories.

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Mr Darling was chosen for his low-key, mechanistic style of government. Under Mr Byers, the Department of Transport had been paralysed by warring factions within its ranks.

Mr Darling was nominated by almost one in four of the 12,000 voters who took part in the CyberBritain poll. A far smaller number chose Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat leader, as the most interesting politician - putting Scots at both ends of the poll.

Mr Duncan Smith came 39 votes short of beating Mr Darling. One voter described him as being "like William Hague without the charisma".

Michael Howard, the shadow chancellor, came a distant third. Curiously, Peter Mandelson and Anne Widdecombe also featured in chart of the ten most boring.

Ms Widdecombe was, however, granted a dual placing. She finished behind Mr Kennedy and Tony Benn, the former Labour MP, amongst the ten most interesting. Her decision to go blonde and take part in a television documentary were cited as reasons in her favour.