Darling and Blunkett in frame to become peers

Alistair Darling stood down as MP. Picture: John Devlin
Alistair Darling stood down as MP. Picture: John Devlin
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ALISTAIR Darling could be set to get a peerage.

According to reports, the ex-chancellor and former Edinburgh South West MP for Labour was nominated by former party leader Ed Miliband, along with David Blunkett, in the “Dissolution List”, traditionally drawn up before a general election.

Blunkett, 68, who had several top ministerial posts during his political career – including Home Secretary – said he was surprised by the news.

“I have not been informed of anything, so it’s impossible to comment.”

He and 61-year-old Darling both stood down from parliament at the most recent 

Darling’s Edinburgh seat went to the SNP.

Darling, who led the Better Together campaign during last year’s independence referendum, was an MP in Scotland for nearly 28 years.

Sources said his former colleague Jack Straw would not be on the list following a probe into his alleged involvement in a cash-for-access scandal.

The former foreign secretary was filmed apparently boasting that he would change EU regulations using his influence “under the radar”.

He denies any wrongdoing and referred himself for investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.

Yesterday a Labour source, who did not wish to be named, told a national newspaper: “Blunkett and Darling are nailed on, but a view has been taken that we can’t put Jack Straw in the Lords while he’s under a cloud.”

It has been reported that publication of the list has been delayed as stand-in Labour leader Harriet Harman wants to add her own names, including that of her long-standing advisor Ayesha Hazarika.

The source said: “Harriet’s people are now encouraging her to put her own names on it.

“She won’t be signing off any list that does not have a woman on it.”

David Cameron is also said to be finalising his own list of names.

Among those thought to be being considered by the Prime Minister are former employment minister Esther McVey, who lost her seat at this year’s general election.

Darling, a Labour MP since 1987, took a backbench role 
after the party’s election defeat in 2010.

He was best known for steering the UK through the financial crisis under the premiership of Gordon Brown, later revealing that No 10 had unleashed “the forces of hell” on him after he issued a stern warning about the likely severity of the recession.

In 2014 he led the successful Better Together campaign and he had been tipped to make a pitch for the leadership of the Scottish Labour Party following the resignation of Johann Lamont.

But he announced his intention to resign from politics last November, saying he would step down while he was “still relatively young”.