Alistair Darling was the Chancellor who led Britain out of its worst financial crisis in almost a century, and also led the campaign to keep Scotland within the United Kingdom.
Working under Gordon Brown when he took over Number 10 from Tony Blair, Mr Darling was tasked with filling his boss’s old chair at the Treasury.
But less than a year after being given the post, Mr Darling found himself leading the UK economy during the 2008 crisis, which included a call from the head of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), In which it was said that the bank would run out of money. In a few hours.
Mr Darling became head of the pro-UK Better Together campaign in the lead up to the 2014 independence referendum.
Mr Darling, right, served in both the administrations of Gordon Brown, left, and Tony Blair (John Stilwell/PA)
His side was ultimately successful, but his party suffered losses north of the border following the vote.
Born in London in 1953, Mr Darling was educated at the University of Aberdeen – from which he was given an honorary doctorate in 2018 – earning a law degree before entering national politics, winning the Edinburgh Central seat for Labor in 1987.
He held the constituency and its successor, Edinburgh South West, until 2015.
Mr Darling was a permanent minister in the Brown and Blair administrations, holding other posts including Scottish Secretary, Work and Pensions Secretary and Transport Secretary.
He was granted a life peerage in 2015, becoming Baron Darling of Rulanish, eventually retiring from the House of Lords in 2020.
Mr Darling was the leader of the Better Together campaign (Andrew Milligan/PA)
But it was his work in the late 2000s for which he is best known, including facilitating the bailout of the UK banking system after the £137 billion sub-prime mortgage crash, holding late-night meetings with bank bosses. Involved talking. At 11 Downing Street.
Speaking in a documentary on the 10th anniversary of the crash, Mr Darling told how close RBS came to collapse.
He told the BBC: “I had to go to one of these meetings of European finance ministers, and I was asked to come out and talk to the then chairman of RBS (Tom MacKillop), who said that the bank needed money. There is a shortage.” 2017.
“Remember that not only was it the largest in the world, but it was the size of the entire UK economy.
“I said to him, ‘How long are you going to last?’ And what he said to me shook me to my core. He said, ‘Okay, by noon we will run out of money.’
In 2012, Mr Darling was chosen to lead the Better Together campaign – the cross-party group that fought to keep Scotland in the UK in the 2014 independence referendum.
Mr Darling debated then First Minister Alex Salmond on Scottish independence ahead of the 2014 referendum (PA).
He took part in two highly publicized debates with then First Minister Alex Salmond, with the pair exchanging heated words before the vote.
On 18 September 2014, Scots voted by 55% to 45% to remain in the UK.
In a speech following the result, Mr Darling said the Scots had “chosen unity rather than division and positive change rather than unnecessary separation”.
But it was his party that had to bear the brunt of electoral changes in subsequent years.
In 2015, Nicola Sturgeon led the SNP to a landslide victory in Scotland, winning 56 out of 59 seats, while Labor slipped to third place behind Ruth Davidson’s Tories at Holyrood in 2016.