Former Chancellor and veteran Labour politician Alistair Darling has died aged 70, a spokesperson on behalf of his family said.

The long-serving MP, a former pupil of Loretto School, Musselburgh, died after spending time in hospital being treated for cancer.

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.

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.

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.”

East Lothian Courier: Alistair Darling during the referendum campaignAlistair Darling during the referendum campaign (Image: PA)

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.”

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.

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“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.

“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.”

Former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who competed against him in the referendum, said she was "very sad to hear the news of Alistair Darling’s untimely death".

Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, she added: "Though we were on opposing sides of the independence referendum - with the inevitable clashes that involved - I always found him to be a man of intellect and principle.

"He made a significant contribution to politics and public life. My condolences are with his loved ones."