Former chancellor and veteran Labour politician Alistair Darling has been remembered for safeguarding the UK economy "through traumatic financial events" after his death was announced by his family.

The long-serving MP died at the age of 70 after spending time in hospital being treated for cancer, a spokesman for his family said.

Mr Darling was chancellor under Gordon Brown's premiership at Downing Street from 2007 to 2010, and helped lead Britain through the 2008 financial crisis.

He also held the Scottish secretary post under Tony Blair from 2003 to 2006, as well as a hots of other positions in government.

Mr Darling was first elected to Westminster at the 1987 general election for former Edinburgh Central and remained an MP for the capital until stepping down in 2015.

The Labour politician was the chairman and a director of the Better Together campaign, which campaigned for a No vote in the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence.

He retired from the House of Lords in 2020 just five years after being appointed a life peer.

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A statement issued on behalf of the family of Mr Darling, said: “The death of Alistair Darling, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer and long-serving member of the Labour cabinet, was announced in Edinburgh today.

“Mr Darling, 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.”

The Herald: Alistair Darling during the referendum campaignAlistair Darling during the referendum campaign (Image: PA)

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Gordon Brown, prime minister during Mr Darling’s time as chancellor, said he was “deeply saddened” by his death.

He said: “Alistair will be remembered as a statesman of unimpeachable integrity whose life was defined by a strong sense of social justice and who gained a global reputation for the assured competence and the exercise of considered judgment he brought to the handling of economic affairs.”

Mr Brown said that as chancellor from 2007 to 2010 Mr Darling “guided the Treasury and the United Kingdom through traumatic financial events”.

He added: “He was held in the highest esteem by me and all who worked with him for the way in which he handled the fall of the major banks and negotiated international agreements with fellow finance ministers.

“I, like many, relied on his wisdom, calmness in a crisis and his humour.”

Mr Brown said Mr Darling was “resolute and courageous in making the case for Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom” as chairman of the Better Together Campaign.

He added: “Alistair’s family were central to everything he did. I send my deepest condolences to his loving wife Maggie and their children Calum and Anna. He will be missed by all who knew and respected him and benefited from the great work he did.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Alistair Darling. My heart goes out to his family, particularly Maggie, Calum and Anna, whom he loved so dearly.

“Alistair lived a life devoted to public service. He will be remembered as the Chancellor whose calm expertise and honesty helped to guide Britain through the tumult of the global financial crisis.

“He was a lifelong advocate for Scotland and the Scottish people and his greatest professional pride came from representing his constituents in Edinburgh.

“I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have benefited from Alistair’s counsel and friendship. 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.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Alistair Darling’s passing is a huge loss to us all.

“He was a dedicated public servant who served this country though challenging times.”

He said Mr Darling was “vital in keeping our union together” during the 2014 referendum.

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond, who led the campaign for independence in the 2014 referendum, described Mr Darling as a “hugely significant figure in UK politics” and an “effective politician”.

The two men clashed in TV debates ahead of the vote, and Mr Salmond described Mr Darling as a “formidable opponent” – but said outside of those debates, they did “not ever exchange a cross word”.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “I am heartbroken at the news of the death of Alistair Darling and my thoughts are with his wife – Maggie, his two children and all those who knew and loved him.

“Alistair was a giant of the Labour movement, a titanic force for good and a man I was proud to consider a friend and a mentor.

“From his time as Secretary of State for Scotland to being the Chancellor that led the UK through the financial crisis, Alistair Darling was dedicated to public service and improving the lives of those less fortunate."

He added: “At a time of division for Scotland, Alistair led the Better Together campaign with kindness, intelligence and good humour – it was a job he did not want to do, but he believed he was doing a service for Scotland.

“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.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, said: “I’m extremely sorry and saddened to hear of the death of Alistair Darling.

"He was a distinguished parliamentarian who rightly earned widespread regard as a longstanding Edinburgh MP, as Secretary of State for Scotland and as Chancellor.

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“Scotland owes him a particular debt of gratitude for his role as chairman of the Better Together campaign. How he conducted himself and the campaign earned respect and admiration from both sides of the argument. My thoughts and condolences are with his wife Margaret and their children.”

First Minister Humza Yousaf also paid tribute to Mr Darling.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Mr Yousaf wrote: “I am deeply saddened to hear of Alistair’s passing. He dedicated his life to public service and was a giant of Scottish politics.

“My thoughts are with his wife Margaret, children, family, friends and colleagues at this sad time.”