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Gordon Brown Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

(CNN) — Here’s a look at the life of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.


Birth date: February 20, 1951

Birth place: Glasgow, Scotland

Birth name: James Gordon Brown

Father: John Brown, Church of Scotland minister

Mother: Jessie Elizabeth “Bunty” (Souter) Brown

Marriage: Sarah Macaulay (August 3, 2000-present)

Children: James Fraser, John and Jennifer Jane

Education: Edinburgh University, M.A., History, 1972; Edinburgh University, Ph.D., History, 1982

Religion: Church of Scotland (Presbyterian)

Other Facts

Is blind in his left eye and has lost most of the sight in his right eye, the result of being kicked in the head during a rugby game as a teenager.

His daughter Jennifer Jane died of a cerebral hemorrhage 10 days after she was born prematurely.


1972-1975 – Youngest ever rector at the University of Edinburgh.

1976-1980 Lecturer/professor at Glasgow College of Technology.

1980-1983Journalist and current affairs editor at Scottish TV.

1983-1984Chairman of the Labour Party in Scotland.

1983-2005 – Member of Parliament (MP) representing Dunfermline East.

1987-1989 – Shadow (opposition) chief secretary of the Treasury.

1989-1992 – Shadow (opposition) spokesman for Trade and Industry.

1992-1997 – Shadow chancellor of Britain.

1997-2007 Chancellor of the Exchequer (Treasury), the branch of the British government responsible for collecting and managing the government’s finances.

2005 – Is elected MP representing Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, towns in the Fife area of Scotland.

2006 Brown’s son James Fraser is diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at age four months.

May 11, 2007Launches his campaign to become prime minister, “Gordon Brown for Britain.” Tony Blair officially endorses his candidacy.

May 16, 2007 – Receives 313 nominations from Labour MPs, guaranteeing that he will win leadership.

June 11, 2007 – Makes a surprise visit to Iraq and meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

June 24, 2007 – Blair hands over leadership of the Labour Party to Brown during a conference of party members in Manchester, England.

June 27, 2007 Becomes the prime minister of the United Kingdom.

July 29, 2007 – Brown meets with US President George W. Bush at Camp David, his first visit to the United States as prime minister.

February 18, 2008Signs legislation nationalizing the mortgage bank Northern Rock, the first time since 1984 that the government has rescued a British bank.

April 15, 2008 – Arrives in the United States for a trip that includes a meeting at the United Nations, discussions with President Bush on economic/diplomatic ties and introductions to the remaining presidential candidates.

May 23, 2008 Meets with the Dalai Lama at the Archbishop of Canterbury’s London residence. China condemns the meeting and says, “This interferes in China’s internal affairs and hurts the Chinese people’s feelings as well.”

December 17, 2008 – Announces that British troops will withdraw from Iraq before June 2009.

March 2, 2009 – Arrives in the United States for a week of meetings, some with US President Barack Obama.

June 2009 – Reorganizes his cabinet after several resignations. Also agrees to closed-door hearings on Britain’s role in the Iraq War.

February 2010 – A candid interview for British television airs. For the first time, Brown talks openly about the death of his first child, Jennifer Jane, his son Fraser’s illness and his relationship with Blair.

March 6, 2010 – Visits British troops in Afghanistan and promises them 200 new patrol vehicles more resistant to roadside bombs.

May 11, 2010 – Resigns as prime minister after the Labour Party comes in second in parliamentary elections held May 6.

July 11, 2011 – The Guardian newspaper publishes allegations that the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper The Sun illegally obtained details about Brown’s son and published a story about the child’s illness. Brown responds in a statement saying, “The family has been shocked by the level of criminality and the unethical means by which personal details have been obtained. The matter is in police hands.”

July 12, 2011 – The Sun issues a denial that it illegally obtained information about Brown’s son.

July 12, 2011 – Brown accuses the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times newspaper of having “links with criminals” and alleges that the newspaper illegally gathered information on his bank account, legal files and taxes.

June 11, 2012 – Appears before the Leveson Inquiry to discuss his personal experiences with The Sun newspaper and Murdoch, his feelings on the rights of the media versus the rights of the citizenry, and issues with several British politicians.

July 2012 Is appointed United Nations Special Envoy on Global Education by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

December 1, 2014 – Announces he will stand down as MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath at the 2015 election.

December 7, 2015 – Investment management firm PIMCO says it retained Brown and four others, including Ben Bernanke and Jean-Claude Trichet, to form a Global Advisory Board.

2017 – Memoir “My Life, Our Times” is published.

January 2019 – The Wall Street Journal reports that Brown will be joining the advisory council of Partners Group, a private equity firm in Switzerland.

June 10, 2021 – Brown’s book “Seven Ways to Change the World” is published.

December 5, 2022 – The Labour party’s Commission on the UK’s Future, chaired by Brown, publishes its report, which calls for sweeping changes including transitioning political power from the House of Lords to local authorities.

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