Gordon Brown became the UK's prime minister for a period of about three years between 2007 and 2010, after succeeding Tony Blair, when the Labour part was voted out. Much was made of the supposedly strained relationship between Blair and Brown but after much speculation to the contrary, Brown took up the job without the need for a leadership contest. Formerly he had been Chancellor of the Exchequer, as well as one of the architects of the "New Labour" project.
While he was of Britain's longest-serving Chancellors, Brown developed a reputation for financial prudence within the Treasury, although he is seen in some circles as slightly brusque - less of a man of the people than Tony Blair. This image has been somewhat softened of late with the arrival of he and his wife Sarah's two young children, James and John.
One issue that Gordon Brown has often returned to in speeches is that of global development, concentrating especially on eradicating world poverty - an topic that has seen him working alongside such campaigners as Bob Geldof and Bono of U2 - and he was a central figure in recent efforts to write off Third-World debt.