Alistair Darling was a rarity in politics. I never met anyone who didn’t like him. He was highly capable though modest, understated but never to be underestimated, always kind and dignified even under the intense pressure politics can generate. He was the safest of safe hands. I knew he could be given any position in the cabinet and be depended upon. I liked him and respected him immensely as a colleague and as a friend.
In all the jobs he did for me in government – Chief Secretary, Work and Pensions, Transport, Trade and Industry, and of course as Secretary of State for Scotland – he was outstanding. He could take tough decisions on spending when he needed to, but as he did with Crossrail, when convinced of a project’s importance, he would be equally tough in supporting it.
I remember him with huge affection. He has been taken from us far too soon. My deepest condolences to Maggie, to Calum and to Anna.