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Taking charge

Alistair Darling's credentials for the post of transport secretary go back to his time as chairman of transport at Lothian Council, Edinburgh. While there he worked closely with the current chairman of the Commission for Integrated Transport David Begg.

There is strong speculation that Darling shares Begg's support for road tolling and congestion charging, in contrast to junior transport minister John Spellar who was renowned for his opposition to tolls.

Darling is already reported to be asking officials to examine ways of speeding up the introduction of congestion charging in towns and cities.

A former solicitor, 48 year old Darling comes to the post having built a reputation as a 'safe pair of hands' as chief secretary to the treasury and minister for work and pensions. He is described as having a 'bland style' that masks his ability as a highly skilled operator who is popular with officials.

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