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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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When the United States declared it would invade Iraq, in 2003, the military decision was initially supported by Britain's Labour Party. However, public support of the war soon dwindled in both the U.K. and U.S., as well as in nations worldwide, creating negative publicity for the Labour Party and, subsequently, Prime Minister Tony Blair. Blair's popularity was declining for other reasons, as well,
including an increasingly tense relationship between Blair and Brown that was perhaps best highlighted by a document that surfaced in 2007, disclosing to the public Blair's contemplative plans to possibly remove Brown as chancellor of the Exchequer.
In September of 2006, Blair announced his plans to resign as prime minister.
In June of 2007, Brown was appointed as prime minister and Labour Party Leader of the United Kingdom, succeeding Tony Blair, who had supported Brown in the general election. Brown, however, faced no opposition while campaigning. Among his first actions were pledging to work to fight poverty, reform the National Health Service and continue the public-sector reforms that had been implemented by Blair's administration.
When the financial crisis erupted worldwide in 2008 (continuing for several months afterward), the United Kingdom was no exception to the effects of the dwindling economy; the country was battling severe unemployment, foreclosures and a national budget deficit. Despite making strides in 2009 to stimulate the economy, Brown saw Britain's budget deficit increase.
Adding salt to the wound, later in 2009, media outlets began reporting on expense account abuse by MPs, including some of Brown's cabinet members. The public scandal caused some members to resign, as well as a decrease in Brown's public ratings.
In the 2010 general election, the Labour Party lost its majority in the House of Commons. Soon after, Brown publicly announced his resignation as Labour Party Leader, and in the following days, he announced that he would step down as prime minister.
Brown married Sarah Macaulay in 2000. They had three children: Jennifer Jane, who died in 2002 after suffering a brain hemorrhage; John Macaulay; and James Fraser.
Brown has written several published works, including Maxton: A Biography (1986), detailing the life of James Maxton, a Scottish politican of the Independent Labour Party, who died in 1946. Maxton was also the topic of Brown's graduate school thesis. He also wrote Where There Is Greed in 1989; co-wrote John Smith in 1994; and authored Beyond the Crash: Overcoming the First Crisis of Globalization in 2010.
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