Alastair Darling has reportedly declared his intention to step down as an MP at the next general election.
The 60 year old MP for Edinburgh South West, who was Chairman of the Better Together Campaign for Scotland to remain as part of the UK during the Scottish Independence Referendum, said in a interview with the FT newspaper that he wanted to step aside while he was still ‘relatively young’.
He added that he was disappointed Labour had not used its success in campaigning for a no vote during the referendum as a springboard. Recent opinion polls have indicated that Labour could lose most of its Scottish MPs to the SNP at the next election. The Scottish Labour Party is currently seeking a new leader after the resignation of Johann Lamont, who accused the UK Labour Party of treating Scotland like a ‘branch office’ after some key decisions were made without her input.
Mr Darling also stated that he was concerned about the possibility of another independence referendum being held in Scotland in the near future, saying ‘most people in Scotland don’t want to be living in Neverendum land’. This comes after a poll commissioned for STV indicated that 66% of respondents would support another referendum within the next decade regardless of the circumstances in which it was held. He also said that in the event of a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU he would use experience gained from the Scottish referendum to campaign for Britain’s membership of the EU. Darling was first elected as an MP in 1987 and served as Chancellor in Gordon Brown’s cabinet between 2007 and 2010, having previously been the Secretary of State for Scotland from 2003 to 2006.