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Gordon Brown

Prime Minister of Great Britain / Political Figure

Born: 20 February 1951
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Best known as: British prime minister, 2007-2010

Name at birth: James Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown succeeded Tony Blair in 2007 as prime minister of the United Kingdom. Born in Scotland, Brown attended the University of Edinburgh, where he earned both an undergraduate degree (1972) and a doctorate (1982) in the study of history. Brown became a member of Parliament for the Labour Party in 1983, from the Scottish constituency of Dunfermline East. He rose through the ranks of the Labour Party while earning a reputation as something of a policy wonk, serious and even gloomy but with a powerful mind and a passion for detail. Brown and Blair developed a knotty relationship in the 1990s, when both were rising stars of the Labour Party. Brown stepped aside during Blair's run for the prime minister's post in 1997, allegedly with the understanding that Blair would later step down in favor of Brown. Blair took office and Brown became Chancellor of the Exchequer, but as the years passed and Blair remained on the job, Brown was said to be increasingly impatient for his turn. On 27 June 2007, Blair stepped down after a decade in office, and Brown became the prime minister. He resigned the post on 11 May 2010, after a tough election that put David Cameron of the Conservative Party in power. Brown has also authored books, including the political biographies Maxton (1986, about Socialist leader James Maxon), John Smith: Life and Soul of the Party (1994), and Courage (2003).

Extra credit: Brown represented Dunfermline East from 1983-2005, when he shifted to Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath after Scottish electoral districts were revised; both the old and new constituency are in the region of Fife, Scotland... Brown has no sight in his left eye, the result of a rugby injury while he was a university student; after a series of unsuccessful operations, his eye was replaced with an artificial eye... National elections were not needed for Brown to take over from Blair as prime minister. As explained in a 25 September 2006 article by Don Melvin for the Cox News Service, "Under the British system of government, the party with the most seats in parliament elects the prime minister. If that party changes its leader, a new prime minister takes office even though there has been no national election"... Brown married for the first time in 2000, to the former Sarah Macaulay. Their first child, Jennifer Jane, was born prematurely in December of 2001 and died 10 days later. They also have sons John (b. 2003) and James (b. 2006). James was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis shortly after birth.

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