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Thursday, 3 August, 2000, 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
Joy as chancellor weds
Brown marriage
Best wishes have been flooding in for the couple
Colleagues and friends of Gordon Brown and his fiance Sarah Macaulay have expressed delight following their wedding.

The chancellor and his fianceť announced on Wednesday that they were marrying in Inverkeithing, in Mr Brown's Dunfermline East constituency, on Thursday.

The surprise announcement brought best wishes from both sides of the House of Commons.

Tony Blair
Tony Blair: "Very happy" to hear the news
Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie said they would not be able to attend.

However, a spokeswoman said: "The Prime Minister and Mrs Blair are very happy for the chancellor and Sarah Macaulay."

Mr Brown's direct opponent, shadow chancellor Michael Portillo, said: "I would like to offer my congratulations to them both and wish them all the best for the future."

Liberal Democrat Leader Charles Kennedy also sent warm wishes.

He said: "I wish them both a happy day and a wonderful life together."

Donald Dewar
Donald Dewar: Sending congratulations
Scotland's First Minister Donald Dewar said: "I am delighted for Sarah and Gordon and wish them every happiness in their future life together."

Julia Hobsbawm, Miss Macaulay's partner at their PR firm Hobsbawm and Macaulay Communications, was away on holiday but was due to fly back to the UK.

Her father, the historian Eric Hobsbawm, said his daughter had not let them know anything about Miss Macaulay's marriage plans.

"She doesn't tell us about those things," he said.

Mr Brown's neighbour, Don Alexander, who attended Kirkcaldy High School with the chancellor, said: "It's great news, he is a nice guy and I wish them both well."

Charlie Whelan:
Charlie Whelan: "Private romance"
The chancellor's former adviser Charlie Whelan said the announcement put doubts about the couple's relationship to rest.

He said: "I have always seen them as a very loving couple.

"People were saying: 'Is their romance over?' but I never saw that.

"It is a very private romance, they love each other greatly and it is no surprise they have decided to get married, really."

Mr Whelan said he expected that the couple would probably honeymoon at Cape Cod in the United States.

"That is where he usually goes with Sarah for the summer and I see no reason why he would go anywhere else."

Scottish churches

Unlike in England and Wales, where weddings can only take place at registered venues, couples in Scotland are free to marry where they choose, provided they have the approval of their local church minister.

A Church of Scotland spokesman explained: "If you choose to get married by a minister, you have to go to the minister of the parish where you live and they will then sit down with you and your partner and discuss the wedding arrangements.

"The minister can marry you in church or anywhere else, as long as they think it is satisfactory.

"Hotels are quite common and people do get married in their homes, although that's more unusual.

"If you wanted to be married in a hot-air balloon or skydiving, then that might be considered a bit flippant, but ultimately the discretion lies with the minister."

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See also:

03 Aug 00 | UK Politics
Brown stops the gossips
03 Aug 00 | UK Politics
Message for Brown on family life
16 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Tears over Brown?
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Brown silent on wedding rumours
Gordon, Prudence and the other woman
03 Aug 00 | UK
A thoroughly modern woman
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