Alistair Maclean Darling (born 28 November 1953) is a British Labour Party politician who has been a Member of Parliament (MP) since 1987, currently for Edinburgh South West. He has been the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer since May 2010, and served as the Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2007 to 2010. Darling was one of only three people to have served in the Cabinet continuously from Labour's victory in 1997 until its defeat in 2010 (the others being Gordon Brown and Jack Straw).
Darling was initially appointed as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 1997, moving to become Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in 1998. Spending four years at the department, he spent another four years as Secretary of State for Transport, also becoming Secretary of State for Scotland in 2003. Prime Minister Tony Blair moved Darling for a final time, to Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in 2006, before Gordon Brown promoted Darling to Chancellor in 2007.
Alistair Darling was born in London the son of a civil engineer, Thomas, and his wife, Anna. He is the great-nephew of Sir William Darling, who was Conservative MP for Edinburgh South (1945–1957). He was educated in Kirkcaldy, and the private Loretto School, Musselburgh, East Lothian, then attended the University of Aberdeen where he was awarded a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B). He became the head of Aberdeen University Students Union. Before joining the Labour Party at the age of 23 in 1977, Darling was a supporter of the International Marxist Group, the British section of the Trotskyist Fourth International. He became a solicitor in 1978, then changed course for the Scots bar and was admitted as an advocate in 1984. He was elected as a councillor to the Lothian Regional Council in 1982 where he supported large rates rises in defiance of Margaret Thatcher's rate-capping laws and even threatened not to set a rate at all. He served on the council until he was elected to Parliament. He was also a board member for the Lothian and Borders Police and became a governor of Napier College in 1985 for two years.