Who is he: When Gordon Brown was elected to British Parliament in 1983, his first Westminster office mate was Tony Blair, the newly elected MP from the Sedgefield constituency. In 1985, Gordon Brown became an opposition spokesman on Trade and Industry, and in 1986 he published a biography of James Maxton, who was an Independent Labour Party politician. Maxton had been the subject of his doctoral dissertation. From 1987 to 1989 Brown served as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, from 1990 to 1992 as Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, and in 1992 he became Shadow Chancellor. When Labour leader John Smith suddenly died in May 1994, Gordon did not contest the fact that Tony Blair was the leadership favorite. He decided to avoid splitting the pro-modernizing vote in the leadership ballot.
An unconfirmed rumor circulated at that time suggesting a political deal between Brown and Blair was in place. Blair promised to give Brown control of economic policy if Brown would not stand against him in the leadership election. Labour defeated the Conservatives by a landslide in the 1997 general election, ending Labour's 18-year exile from government. Blair, the new prime minister, appointed Brown as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Brown stayed in that position for 10 years and two months, becoming the longest-serving Chancellor in modern history.
When Brown took office as Chancellor of the Exchequer he gave the Bank of England operational freedom in setting monetary policy, which included responsibility for setting interest rates through the bank's Monetary Policy Committee. That move was later viewed as the decision that made the 2007 global banking crisis so severe in Britain. While Brown was Chancellor he reduced the basic tax rate from 23% to 20% but in all but his final budget, Brown increased the tax thresholds so they were in line with inflation, rather than earnings. That decision created a fiscal drag. Brown also reduced the corporate tax rate from 33% to 28% and the small business tax from 24% to 19%. Brown introduced a lower tax band of 10% in 1997 and abolished this tax band in his 2007 budget. That move reduced the basic tax rate from 22% to 20% but increased tax for five million people.
Tony Blair announced he would not lead the party into a fourth general election in October 2004 but would serve a full third term. Brown was the favorite to replace him, the only candidate spoken of seriously in Westminster to succeed Blair. News coverage and appearances leading up to this political transition made Brown look like a statesman with a vision for leadership and global change, a perception that helped Brown set important priorities when he became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on June 27, 2007.
On May 10, 2010 Gordon Brown announced that he would stand down as Labour Leader. After Brown visited Buckingham Palace to offer his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II the Queen invited David Cameron, the Leader of the Opposition, to form a government.
Although Brown has kept a low profile since leaving office, he has been taking discreet steps that include setting up a television interview in order to salvage his tarnished reputation as Prime Minister.
Background: Gordon Brown was born at the Orchard Maternity Nursing Home in Giffnock, Renfrewshire, Scotland on February 20, 1951. Gordon attended Kirkcaldy West Primary School. Selected for a fast stream education programme, he entered Kirkcaldy High School two years before other students his age. In high school, Brown was part of an academic hothouse education program, which was taught in separate classes.
Brown entered the University of Edinburgh at the age of 16 and graduated in 1972 with an M.A. First Class Honors degree in history. He stayed at Edinburgh to complete his Ph.D. in history, but didn't receive that degree until 1982.
Gordon Brown was employed as a political lecturer at Glasgow College of Technology in 1976 where he stayed until 1980. Gordon stood for the Edinburgh South constituency in the 1979 general election but lost the election to the Conservative candidate. Brown worked as a journalist for Scottish Television when he left Glasgow College in 1980, and served as current affairs editor until 1983 when he was elected to parliament.