He entered Parliament in 1987 as MP for Edinburgh Central. He soon became a home affairs spokesman, and at the time of the 1997 General Election had risen to Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and was transferred to the real office after the election. In 1998 he was made Work and Pensions Secretary, and was transferred to Transport in 2002, when his predecessor Stephen Byers resigned after a great deal of criticism. After the rump Scottish Office was folded into the Department for Constitutional Affairs, he was made Scottish Secretary also.
Darling has a striking pair of black eyebrows which constrast starkly with his silvery hair. Consequently, critics often compare the minister to penguins, cows, badgers and other black-white animals. Many of these nicknames were previously applied to Norman Lamont, another British politician with very prominent eyebrows.
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