ALISTAIR DARLING: Son of the islands who ‘saved the country twice’

Alistair Darling served as chancellor

Tributes from the Western Isles have described Alistair Darling as a “son of Lewis who saved the country twice“.

Torcuil Crichton, Labour candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, has called the former chancellor as “one of the most decent men I have ever met in politics”.

Mr Darling, who died aged 70 after a short illness, had a strong connection to the Western Isles. He spent much of his free time at the home in Bernera the family inherited from his island-born mother.

Torcuil Crichton said: “Alistair was very proud of his island roots and he and his wife Maggie found solace and escape from the pressures of politics there.

“His passing is a great loss to the Labour family but also to the island community and to the country.

“He had the distinction of saving the economy when the banks took the country to the brink of the cliff in the 2008 financial crisis and then he stepped up to the plate again during the 2014 referendum where his trusted voice was key to the success of the Better Together campaign.” 

Mr Crichton added: “Alistair’s calm wisdom and experience in crisis would have been an incredible source of counsel to an incoming Labour government.

“He was a son of Lewis who leaves an incredible record of public service to his country and he was one of the most honourable and decent men I have ever met in politics.”

Mr Darling – who on entering the Lords became Lord Darling of Roulanish in another nod to his island roots – is survived by wife Maggie and his children Calum and Anna.

Politicians from all parties added to the tributes.

Ian Blackford, MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber and former SNP Westminster leader said: “This is so sad that Alistair has been taken so young.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to him for his public service not least in steering these islands through the financial crisis.

“Thoughts and prayers with his loved ones. Rest in peace Alistair.”