June 27, 2007, Gordon Brown, 56, finally became the Prime Minister of Britain, after serving over a decade as Tony Blair's heir apparent. As lore would have it, in 1994 the two Labour Party friends made a pact — Tony Blair would run for Prime Minister, and eventually pass the torch to the awkward and dour Brown.
Brown became Prime Minister when the unpopular Blair stepped down, and immediately confronted a series of crises, including a thwarted terrorist attack, and flooding across England. But, the unfortunate events did not stop there. Brown came under fire for scandals including the loss of a computer disk holding bank account details of 25 million people, the almost collapse of a major mortgage lender, and sketchy Labour Party financing. In an attempt to deflect such negative attention before a general election next year, Brown recently put the spotlight on eight young Cabinet ministers as a way to prove the Labour Party is the party of radical change.
For more information on Brown's road to power, read more.
Under Blair, Brown served as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and presided over unprecedented growth while diminishing the Labour Party's reputation as a tax-and-spend party. Born and raised in Scotland, Brown credits his parents as "my inspiration, and the reason I am in politics." His father was a minister of the Church of Scotland.
Young Gordon started university at the young age of 16. Although he was extremely successful academically, his university career was dogged with medical complications. A rugby injury from high school, cost him his sight in one eye, and left him with only 30 percent vision in the other. Brown worked as a university instructor and wrote a number of books, including "The Real Divide," a study of poverty and inequality. He entered parliament in 1983, sharing an office with Tony Blair.