Factbox: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown

(BestGrowthStock) – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Monday he would step down as Labour Party leader later this year, and that Labour would begin talks with the smaller Liberal Democrats on a possible governing alliance following last week’s inconclusive general election.

Here are some facts about Brown:

* Brown, 59, became prime minister in June 2007 when Tony Blair stepped down after 10 years in power and three straight general election victories.

* Under Blair, Brown was Britain’s longest-serving finance minister in 200 years. His first act as chancellor was to hand independence to the Bank of England, giving it responsibility for setting interest rates.

* Born in Scotland in 1951, Brown is the second of three sons. His father was a minister in the Church of Scotland and strongly shaped his views. Brown has described his parents as “my inspiration, and the reason I am in politics”.

* He had a rugby accident when he was a teenager and lost sight in one eye. Brown denied suggestions last year that he was slowly losing his sight in his other eye.

* Brown went to Edinburgh University at the age of 15, one of its youngest students in recent decades.

* Brown confirmed in an interview in February that he and Blair had agreed that Blair would seek the party leadership in 1994 and then stand down “at some point” and support Brown as his successor. But he denied the deal was done at a north London restaurant as Westminster folklore has it.

* The pair clashed over public service reforms and over Blair’s ambition to take Britain into the euro, which Brown effectively thwarted by setting out five demanding economic criteria that Britain had to meet before joining.

* Jennifer Jane, Brown and his wife Sarah’s first child, died 10 days after her premature birth in 2001. The couple have since had two sons, the second of whom has been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

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(Reporting by London newsroom and David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; editing by Tim Pearce)

Factbox: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown