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Thursday, 3 August, 2000, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
'Flash Gordon' settles down
Mr Brown speaking
Mr Brown has avoided questions on his love life
Gordon Brown's surprise marriage to girlfriend Sarah Macaulay puts to rest media speculation over the Chancellor of the Exchequer's love life.

Mr Brown married Ms Macaulay, who runs the public relations consultancy Hobsbawm Macaulay Communications, in his Fife constituency on Thursday.

Persistent rumours of engagement surrounded the couple, although the notoriously shy Mr Brown has refused to be drawn on the issue.

His love life was once the cause of a run-in with Sue Lawley on BBC radio's Desert Island Discs.

Mr Brown and Ms Macaulay
Mr Brown and Ms Macaulay
Ms Lawley made inquiries about the chancellor's private life, stating that: "People want to know whether you're gay or whether there is some flaw in your personality".

Mr Brown said in reply: "I'm not married because I'm not married. It just hasn't happened yet. It might happen, there have been times . . . and yes, I've got friends".

He had a five-year relationship with Princess Marguerite of Romania, the eldest daughter of ex-King Michael of Romania, who said a relationship with him was "politics, politics, politics".

Mr Brown has a reputation for being very hard-working.

During the 1997 election campaign, he is said to have worked an average of 18 hours a day, six days a week after running on a treadmill for an hour each morning.

Mr Brown
Mr Brown: Nicknamed "Flash Gordon"
Born in Glasgow on February 20, 1951, his father was a Church of Scotland Minister in the small Fife town of Kirkcaldy.

By the time he was 20 he had a first class degree in History from Edinburgh University, where he went on to complete a PhD.

Before becoming a member of parliament he worked as a politics lecturer and as a journalist on Scottish television.

He joined the Labour Party at 18 and went on to become chairman of the Labour Club at Edinburgh University.

In 1983, Mr Brown entered parliament as the MP for Dunfermline East.

He had previously contested Edinburgh South, without success, at the 1979 general election.

No 10 switch

Within four years he had gained his first frontbench post as shadow chief secretary to the Treasury.

He became shadow trade and industry secretary in 1989 and in 1992, shadow chancellor of the exchequer.

He then set about initiating the policies on which the 1997 election campaign was based, proposing a windfall tax on excess profits of the public utilities in 1993.

After the general election Mr Brown gave up the right to 11 Downing Street, the traditional residence of the chancellor, and moved into the smaller flat above No 10 so that the Prime Minister's family could take advantage of the greater space in No 11.

Bank independence

The speed of his political actions on becoming chancellor earned him the nickname "Flash Gordon".

Straight on the heels of Labour's election victory he announced that the Bank of England was to become independent of the government and to have its own powers to make decisions about interest rates.

He went on to remove its role as regulator of financial institutions and to announce the creation of a new super regulator to oversee banking, insurance and pensions.

Mr Brown has also introduced a new level of informality and transparency within the Treasury - the National Audit Office has been invited to scrutinise the Treasury's economic forecasting.

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