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Former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling dies at 70

FORMER Labour chancellor Alistair Darling has died at the age of 70.

Mr Darling had been undergoing treatment for cancer in the city he had represented first in Lothian Regional Council, then later as an MP in Westminster, representing Edinburgh from 1987 until he stood down in 2015.

A statement issued on behalf of his family said: “The much-loved husband of Margaret and beloved father of Calum and Anna, died after a short spell in Western General Hospital under the wonderful care of the cancer team.”

Leading tributes was former prime minister Gordon Brown, who described him as a “statesman of unimpeachable integrity whose life was defined by a strong sense of social justice.” 

Mr Brown praised his “wisdom, calmness in a crisis and his humour” as he led the Treasury during the 2008 financial crash.

After Labour’s election defeat in 2010, he went on to head up the Better Together campaign during the Scottish independence referendum, memorably debating then-SNP leader Alex Salmond.

Mr Darling was a “formidable” but  “extremely courteous man,” according to Mr Salmond, a sentiment echoed by SNP First Minister Humza Yousaf.

Mr Yousaf said: “I disagreed with Alistair on big political issues, but what is much more important is the courteous and respectful manner with which he conducted himself throughout his political career.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “Alistair’s life was one spent in the service of the people of Scotland and the UK – the Labour family and our country will sorely mourn his passing.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “He was always at hand to provide advice built on his decades of experience – always with his trademark wry, good humour.

“Alistair will be missed by all those whose lives he touched. His loss to the Labour Party, his friends and his family is immeasurable.”

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