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Gordon Brown succeeded Tony Blair as prime minister of the United Kingdom in 2007, and served against the backdrop of a worldwide financial crisis.
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Born in Scotland on February 20, 1951, Gordon Brown succeeded Tony Blair as prime minister of the United Kingdom in 2007, after having served under Blair as chancellor of the Exchequer. He stepped down in 2010 amidst waning popularity of the Labour party, which was due in part to the worldwide financial crisis.
Gordon Brown was born in Glasgow, Scotland on February 20, 1951, to mother Elizabeth Brown and father John Brown, who served as a minister for the Church of Scotland. Brown attended the Kirkcaldy West Primary School and, when he was just 16 years old, won a scholarship to the University of Edinburgh. There, he studied politics and served as chairman of the school's Labour Club. He graduated with honors from Edinburgh in 1972.
Not long after his graduation from Edinburgh, Brown began a short stint as a lecturer there, in 1975, moving on to a teaching position at the Glasgow College of Technology in 1976. In 1980, he switched careers entirely, becoming a current affairs journalist for Scottish TV. Around the same time, he decided to begin graduate studies, re-enrolling at the University of Edinburgh. He obtained a doctorate degree in history from the school in 1982, after writing a dissertation titled, "The Labour Party and Political Change in Scotland, 1918–29."
Following an unsuccessful run in 1979 in the House of Commons election, vying for the Edinburgh representative seat, Brown won a seat as a Member of Parliament for Dunfermline East in 1983. At that time, he began a friendship with Tony Blair, also a new MP, representing the Sedgefield constituency. Not long after the election, Brown and Blair led the campaign to modernize the political philosophy of the Labour Party, amending the party's goal of state socialism to a more business-focused strategy.
In 1992, Brown was designated as shadow chancellor of the Exchequer, and then became the parliament's Labour Party leader in 1994, following the sudden death of his predecessor, MP John Smith.
When the Labour Party beat the Conservative Party in the 1997 general election, Blair became U.K. prime minister and Brown, subsequently, became chancellor of the Exchequer. In his new position, Brown controlled the U.K.'s domestic economy-related policies. Among his first actions were designating the power to set interest rates to the Bank of England, and creating stipulations for the U.K.'s potential adoption of the euro—as of May 2012, the U.K. had still not adopted the euro, nor announced new plans to do so in the future, and the sterling pound remained the nation's unit of currency.
During his first two years in office, Brown in large part retained stringent public-spending policies that had been set by the former Conservative administration, which frustrated many of his supporters in the Labour Party. However, in 1998, Brown created plans to designate additional finances to the nation's health, education and overseas aid budgets. His new spending plan was effected in 1999. Not long after, Brown helped to develop new mechanisms for stabilizing the world's financial markets.
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