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Gordon Brown's Biography

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Who is Gordon Brown?

(James) Gordon Brown was born on 20 February 1951 in Glasgow.

Gordon Brown grew up in Kirkaldy and supported Raith Rovers. It seems that Gordon Brown was always at home with the idea of economic 'prudence'. He and his brother used to sell programmes at the football ground and as a result Gordon Brown says: "You got in free for the second half and they paid you as well".

Gordon Brown joined the Labour Party in 1969 and was elected MP for Dunfermline East in 1983. He rose rapidly up the Labour Party ranks. He was opposition spokesman for Trade and Industry from 1989 to 1992 and then the Treasury from 1992 to 1997.

After Labour's return to government with their landslide victory, Gordon Brown was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer on 2 May 1997.

One of Gordon Brown's first acts as Chancellor was to give independence to the Bank of England to set interest rates. This was heralded by many as not just a sound economic move, but also a clever immediate reassurance to the City that this Labour Party was not going to be as interventionist as its predecessors.

Rumours were always rife of a feud between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. After Gordon Brown delivered his budget on 16 March 2005, Phillip Stephens of the Financial Times wrote:

"There was a show of unity in the Commons but relations between the two men are still dismal. Every conversation between the prime minister and chancellor starts with Mr Brown demanding Mr Blair's early departure. The message is that the only move from No 11 Downing Street Mr Brown will contemplate is one next door to No 10."

Earlier in the article, Stephens had characterised Gordon Brown's budget speeches:

"Mr Brown's style at the House of Commons despatch box is closer to that of the heavyweight boxer than the magician selecting his tricks. Chancellors past have sought to surprise. This one bludgeons." Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah's first child, Jennifer Jane, died aged 10 days after being born prematurely in 2002. Since then the couple have had two boys, John and James.

In March 2007, Gordon Brown delivered his 11th Budget and pointed out that only Gladstone had delivered 12 budgets and that was only by combining the job of Chancellor of the Exchequer with that of Prime Minister.

Gordon Brown, who for some time had been seen as Tony Blair's successor, joked that he felt combining the two roles should not be a precedent worthy of following.

On 10 May 2007, Tony Blair announced that he was resigning on 27 June. Immediately, Gordon Brown threw his hat in the ring to take over as Labour leader and, therefore, Prime Minister.

On 17 May 2007, Gordon Brown was supported by so many Labour MPs (313 nominations) that his only rival, John McDonnell, could not get enough backers to trigger a contest, thereby ensuring that it would be Mr Brown who took over as Prime Minister from Tony Blair on 27 June 2007.

When Gordon Brown took over as Prime Minister on 27 June 2007, he declared, "Let the work of change begin."

The BBC has a timeline of Gordon Brown's life prior to becoming Prime Minister.

On 6 May 2010, Labour under Gordon Brown only gained 258 seats in the general election. However, the Conservative Party also failed to gain an overall majority and in the aftermath both Labour and the Conservatives under David Cameron courted the Liberal Democrats led by Nick Clegg.

On 10 May 2010, Gordon Brown made an announcement in which he accepted that Labour's poor showing was a judgement on him and that he was stepping down as Labour Party leader and hoped that a successor as Labour leader would be in place by September 2010.

The following day Gordon Brown resigned as Prime Minister and stepped down as Labour leader.

In 2012, he was made the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Global Education.

On 1 December 2014, Gordon Brown announced that he was standing down as an MP at the next general election.

In 2017, he wrote an autobiography My Life, Our Times, the proceeds of which go to the Jennifer Brown research laboratory at Edinburgh University, set up in memory of the baby daughter he and his wife Sarah lost in 2002.

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