Gordon Brown/Timelines

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A timeline (or several) relating to Gordon Brown.

Parliamentary Career

Opposition 1983-97

(Maiden speech[2])
Neil Kinnock replaces Michael Foot as leader of the Labour Party
  • 1984 Brown attends Democratic National Convention on San Francisco

1987 General Election: Conservative 46% 358 seats; Labour 30% 155 seats; Liberal/SDP alliance 24% 10seats

  • 1987 Appointed Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
  • 1989 Appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry

1992 General Election: Conservative 42% 336 seats; Labour 34% 271 seats; Liberal Democrats 18% 20seats

Appointed Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
John Smith replaces Neil Kinnock as Leader of the Opposition.
  • 1993 3-day visit to the United States and meeting with Alan Greenspan.
  • 1994 Death of John Smith
31 May - Meeting with Tony Blair at the Granita restaurant
8 September - Strategy conference at the Chewton Glen hotel

1997 General Election: Labour 43% 418 seats; Conservative 31% 165 seats; Liberal Democrats 17% 46seats

Chancellor of the Exchequer 1997-2007

First term 1997-2001

  • Bank of England Act 1998[3], gave the Bank responsibility for setting interest rates to meet the Government's stated inflation target.
  • The Comprehensive Spending Review[4] and Public Service Agreement System[5] system is introduced, replacing the former annual spending review process with a longer-term (3-year) commitment, and setting performance targets.
  • Five tests for Euro membership
  • Code for Fiscal Stability
  • Gordon Brown introduces the first pre-budget report[6] - (a progress report, an update of the state of the economy and public finances, and a statement of Government policy in the run up to the spring Budget) after which they were published annually[1].
  • Budget 1997[7]- corporation tax rate cut from 33% to 31% (23 -21 for small firms), windfall tax on private utilities, welfare-to-work scheme.
  • Budget 1998[8]- Working Families Tax Credit
  • Comprehensive Spending Review
  • Budget 1999[9] - basic income tax rate reduced by 1p to 23p
  • Budget 2000[10]
  • Comprehensive Spending Review - extra £43 billion for public services in 2001-4
  • Financial Services and Markets Act 2000[11] established the Financial Services Authority to combine the functions of 6 regulatory bodies - supplemented by a three-party memorandum of understanding [12]
  • Budget 2001[13] - more money for health and education. Increase in child tax credit

2001 General election: Labour 40% 413 seats; Conservative 32% 166 seats; Liberal Democrats 18% 52seats

Second term 2002-2005

  • Budget 2002[14]
  • Enterprise Act 2002[15] gives political independence and additional investigatory and punitive powers to the competition authorities
  • Budget 2003[16]
  • November 2003: Admiralty House meeting with Tony Blair at which an agreement concerning Gordon Brown's succession as PM[2]
  • Budget 2004[17]
  • Report of Gershon Review of efficiency in the public services[18]
  • Budget 2005[19]
Better Regulation Commission[20]
  • Gleneagles Summit 2005[21] G8 leaders under Gordon Brown's chairmanship agree to double aid for Africa by 2010.

2005 General election: Labour 35% 356 seats; Conservative 32% 198 seats; Liberal Democrats 22% 62 seats

Third term 2005-07

Prime Minister 2007-2010


Gordon Brown proposes the transfer to Parliament of parts of the Royal Prerogative powers that are exercised by the Prime Minister[24]
  • July. The Governance of Britain[25]: a government Green Paper that proposes a transfer of power from the Executive to Parliament, and increases in its accountability to Parliament
  • September. Run on the Northern Rock ban; the Chancellor of the Exchequer authorises liquidity support.
  • November. Policy speeches
Speech on foreign policy[26]. Included "a new framework for security and reconstruction", "new initiatives in non-proliferation" and "the renewal of the international institutions".
Speech on climate change[27]. A proposal for a global carbon market.


  • February. The Northern Rock bank is "nationalised [29].
  • March. The Governance of Britain - Constitutional Renewal[30]. White Paper on government proposals including Parliamentary powers concerning the ratification of treaties and the deployment of the armed forces
  • April. Bank of England announces its Special Liquidity Scheme to allow banks to swap some of their illiquid assets for liquid Treasury Bills for up to three years [31].
  • September.
The collapse of the United States Lehman Brothers investment bank triggers the culminating stage of the financial crash of 2008
New York visit. Discussions with President Bush and Tim Geithner (President, New York Fed) about the need for bank recapitalisation
Speech to the United Nations[32] on the need for concerted action.
  • October.
The government launches a £500 billion bank rescue plan [3] [4] including powers to take equity stakes in ailing banks and an unlimited undertaking to guarantee bank loans.
Paris meetings with President Sarkozy, Chancellor Merkel and Prime Ministers Berlusconi and Barroso.
Britain's bank rescue plan is adopted in the EU and the USA[5]
  • November.
The head of the IMF asks for a coordinated fiscal stimulus of 2 per cent of GDP[33]
Chancellor Darling announces a £20 billion fiscal stimulus including a temporary reduction in value added tax (amounting to about 1 per cent of GDP)[34]; and suspends the code for fiscal stability.
Washington summit of G20 agrees to take whatever further actions are necessary to stabilize the financial system, and use monetary policy and fiscal measures to stimulate domestic demand while maintaining a policy framework conducive to fiscal sustainability (but leaders fail to agree to coordinate their measures).


  • January. The Chancellor authorises the Bank of England to set up a Treasury-financed Asset Purchase Facility to buy high-quality assets for the purpose of quantitative easing operations [35].
  • April. London G20 summit
  • May. An IMF team expresses confidence in the government's policies and concludes that "...we expect the authorities to deliver domestic and external stability and set the stage for a sustainable recovery"[36].
  • September Financial Services Bill [37]
  • October. The end of the recession and the beginning of a gradual recovery.
  • December. Gordon Brown addresses the Copenhagen Conference on climate change[38][39]


  • February. The Fiscal Responsibility Act[6] - imposes a duty on the Treasury to ensure that by the financial year ending 2014 public sector net borrowing as a percentage of GDP is at least halved from its level for the financial year ending 2010, and to make continuing reductions thereafter.
  • February. The Hillsborough Castle Agreement on the continuation of Northern Ireland devolution [40]
  • April. Constitutional Reform and Governance Act[41]: provides for the Parliamentary scrutiny of treaties before ratification. (Other proposals in the original Bill were abandoned)
  • May. The Labour Party loses power in the general election and Gordon Brown resigns as Prime Minister.

2010 General election: Conservative 36% 306 seats; Liberal Democrats 23% 57 seats, Labour 29% 258 seats.


Awards and appointments

Personal history

  • 1951 Born, Glasgow, Son of John Brown, a Presbeterian church minister
  • 1954 The family move to Kirkaldy
  • 1961 Starts at Kirkaldy High School
  • 1966 Passes Higher School Certificate (A-level equivalent) examinations with 5 A grades
  • 1967 Starts at Edinburgh University
    becomes a serious Rugby player, but sporting career is ended by an accident in which he loses the sight of his left eye[43]
  • 1970 Awarded a Master of Arts (with 1st class honours)
  • 1973 Elected Student Rector, Edinburgh University
    Becomes a member of the Scottish Labour Party's National Executive
  • 1976: Politics lecturer, Glasgow College of Technology
    Selected as prospective parliamentary candidate for Edinburgh South
  • 1980: Journalist (current affairs) Scottish Television
  • 1982: Doctor of Philosophy, Edinburgh University
  • 1983: Selected as prospective parliamentary candidate for Dunfermline East - and elected to parliament
  • 1996: Appointed Member of Privy Council
  • 2000: Marriage to Sarah Macaulay[44]
  • 2001: Birth of daughter, Jennifer Jane
  • 2002: Death of Jennifer Jane
  • 2004: Birth of first son, James Macaulay[45]
  • 2006: Birth in July of second son, James Frazer, found in November to be suffering from cystic fibrosis[46]
  • 2010: Decides to devote himself to 3 world charities[47]