Scotland politics

Alistair Darling to stand down as MP

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMr Darling told the FT "the time was right for him to step aside"

Alistair Darling has announced that he is to stand down as an MP at the next general election.

The former Chancellor of Exchequer, 60, led the Better Together campaign against Scottish independence.

The Labour MP told the FT newspaper that he wanted to step aside while he was still "relatively young".

And he spoke of his frustration that Labour had not used the "No" vote in the independence referendum as a springboard.

Scottish Labour is currently seeking a new leader and deputy leader following the resignations of Johann Lamont and Anas Sarwar.

Opinion polls

Three candidates - the MP Jim Murphy and MSPs Sarah Boyack and Neil Findlay - are standing to succeed Ms Lamont as leader, with Kezia Dugdale MSP and the MP Katy Clark vying to become deputy.

Two recent opinion polls have suggested Labour is on track to lose the vast majority of its Scottish seats at Westminster to the SNP at the next general election.

Mr Darling, who represents the Edinburgh South West constituency, told the FT that he believed Mr Murphy was the right man to revive the party's fortunes north of the border.

But he was quoted as saying: "My frustration is that we actually won (the referendum). You can't say it often enough. We made the arguments, we had confidence in ourselves."

Image copyright Getty Images

He also said he was concerned that a second independence referendum would soon be held in Scotland unless Labour was able to halt the SNP advance.

'Neverendum Land'

Mr Darling added: "Most people in Scotland don't want to be living in Neverendum Land".

And he said he hoped to use his experience as chairman of Better Together to help the campaign to keep the UK in the European Union in the event of a future referendum.

Mr Darling entered the House of Commons in the 1987 general election.

He served as Secretary of State for Scotland between 2003 and 2006, having previously had responsibility for the transport, trade and industry and work and pensions portfolios.

He replaced Gordon Brown as Chancellor when Mr Brown became prime minister in June 2007, holding the post until Labour's general election defeat in May 2010.

More on this story