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Born 20 February 1951 near Glasgow, Scotland (UK)
Married to Sarah (Macaulay) Brown, born 31 October 1963, in Buckinghamshire, England.
Children: Jennifer Jane (deceased); John Macaulay and James Fraser.
Religion: Church of Scotland.
His father was a Church of Scotland minister and a strong influence on Brown and his mother, after a distinguished period of military service, which included working with Britain’s military code-breakers gave up work to raise the family. His mother died in 2004 aged 86.
The family arrived in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, when Brown was three. He displayed an early talent for maths but his big love was sport – particularly the local team Raith Rovers. He was accepted by the University of Edinburgh to study history at the early age of 16.
Despite his academic abilities, Gordon remained primarily focused on after-school activities. During an end-of-term rugby union match at his old school he received a kick to the head and suffered a retinal detachment. This left him blind in his left eye, despite treatment including several operations.
Brown graduated from Edinburgh with First Class Honours MA in 1972, and stayed on to complete his PhD. While still a student, Brown was elected Rector of the University of Edinburgh. He served as Rector for three years until 1975.
In the 1983 general election Brown became a Labour MP at the age of 32. He was quickly promoted to the shadow cabinet as Trade and Industry spokesperson and in 1992 he became Shadow Chancellor. After the sudden death of Labour leader John Smith in May 1994, Brown did not contest the leadership after Tony Blair became favourite. Together they modernized the Party. The “New Labour” was born.
In 1997 Labour won a landslide victory and Gordon became Chancellor of the Exchequer. Brown's ten years and two months in the post made him the longest-serving Chancellor in modern history.
Blair announced on 7 September 2006 that he would step down within a year, weakened by a public backlash against the Iraq war. Brown was the clear favourite to succeed Blair. The Brown family moved into 10 Downing Street on the 27th of June 2007.
At first things went well. His actions after the London Underground bombings and a high-profile response to floods and an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease reinforced the message that an apparently strong leader had taken over. But his biggest challenges were to come. A sudden and deep world economic crisis, the continuing British deaths in the war in Afghanistan, catastrophic results in European and local elections, rebellions in his own party with calls for Brown to quit… too many problems that weakened this indisputably substantial political figure.
Leader: Gordon Brown
Deputy Leader: Harriet Harman
Headquarters: 39 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0HA
Ideology: The party grew out of the trade union movement and socialist political parties of the 19th century seeking representation for workers. It describes itself as a "democratic socialist party. However, since the "New Labour" project began, a larger proportion of its support has come from middle-class voters and many perceive this support as key to Labour's electoral success since 1997.
Party electoral manifestos have not contained the term socialism since 1992. The new version states:
"The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few, where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe, and where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.”
International affiliation: Socialist International
European affiliation: Party of European Socialists
European Parliament Group: Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Official colours: Red
Born 20 February 1951 in Glasgow, Scotland (UK)
Married with Sarah (Macaulay) Brown
First elected in Parliament in 1983
Religion: Church of Scotland.
euronews' English service journalists blog on the twists and turns of a fascinating campaign.