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U.K.'s Brown Appoints Darling as Finance Minister

Alistar Darling
Alistar Darling

Alistair Darling has been appointed as Britain's finance minister, an aide to Prime Minister Gordon Brown confirmed on Thursday, in a move that signals continuity in economic policy.

Darling had been a hot favorite to take the helm at the Treasury and, as a trusted Brown ally, his appointment is unlikely to cause any waves in financial markets.

"Alistair Darling is a solid, well respected choice as chancellor, who has significant past experience on Treasury matters," said Howard Archer, chief U.K. economist at Global Insight.

"We do not expect to see any major changes in fiscal policy, particularly as we strongly suspect that Gordon Brown will maintain a very keen interest in events at the Treasury. Furthermore, the current state of the public finances means that the new chancellor has very limited room for maneuver."

Darling, 53, held a variety of jobs in Tony Blair's cabinet, including Chief Secretary to the Treasury and, most recently, Trade and Industry Secretary.

Junior minister Andy Burnham was promoted to his first Cabinet post -- Chief Secretary to the Treasury, or Darling's number two, the aide said. He will replace Stephen Timms.

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