UK polls: Know the Key Candidates

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 - 09:20

Profiles of the leaders of Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrats are as follows:

Gordon Brown

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will lead his Labour Party into a national election for the first time on May 06 after his short period as prime minister was marked by an economic crisis and dissent against his leadership. Here are some facts about him:

  • Brown, 59, became Prime Minister in June 2007 when Tony Blair stepped down after 10 years in power and three straight general election victories.
  • Before taking the top job, Brown was Britain`s longest-serving finance minister in 200 years. His first act as chancellor was to hand independence to the Bank of England, putting it in charge of setting interest rates.
  • Born in Scotland in 1951, Brown is the second of three sons. His father was a minister in the Church of Scotland and strongly shaped his views. Brown has described his parents as "my inspiration, and the reason I am in politics".
  • He had a rugby accident when he was a teenager and lost sight in one eye. Brown dismissed suggestions last year that he was slowly losing his sight in his other eye.
  • Brown went to Edinburgh University at the age of 15, one of the institution`s youngest students in recent decades.
  • Brown confirmed in an interview in February that he and Blair had agreed that the latter would seek the party leadership in 1994 and then stand down "at some point" and support Brown for the leadership. But he denied the deal was done at a London restaurant as Westminster folklore has it.
  • The pair clashed over public service reforms and over Blair`s ambition to take Britain into the Euro, which Mr Brown effectively thwarted by setting out five economic criteria that Britain had to meet before joining.
  • Brown`s first child, Jennifer Jane, with his wife Sarah died 10 days after her premature birth in 2001. The couple have since had two sons, the second of whom has been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

    David Cameron

  • David Cameron, whose Conservatives are favourites to win the May 06 election, hopes to lead the centre-right party back to power after 13 years in opposition. Here are some facts about him:
  • Born in October 1966, Cameron was educated at Britain`s most exclusive private school, Eton, and at Oxford University, where he joined the elitist Bullingdon dining club and gained a first-class degree in politics, philosophy and economics.
  • After university, he went straight into a job at the Conservative Party. He was an adviser to the then-Chancellor Norman Lamont in 1992 when sterling crashed out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism. Cameron later worked as a public relations executive at the Carlton television company for seven years, before being elected to Parliament in 2001.
  • The Conservatives chose Cameron as their fifth leader in nine years in December 2005, months after suffering their third successive election defeat at the hands of the Labour Party. He is credited with making the Conservatives electable again after years in which it was regarded, in the words of a former chairman, as the “nasty party”.
  • Cameron`s support for “compassionate Conservatism” and defence of the state-run National Health Service were partly influenced by the experience of caring for his oldest child Ivan, who suffered from cerebral palsy and severe epilepsy. Six-year-old Ivan died in February last year.
  • Cameron and his wife Samantha have two other children and are expecting a baby in September. The aristocratic Samantha, who is creative director at the Smythson luxury leather goods firm, has become a favourite with the British press, who nickname her "Sam Cam".

    Nicholas William Peter (Nick) Clegg

    The Liberal Democrats have elected keen mountaineer Nick Clegg as their third leader in just two years, after Menzies Campbell and Charles Kennedy. Here are some facts about him:

  • Nick Clegg has been leader of Liberal Democrats since December 2007.
  • Clegg was born on January 07, 1967 and studied anthropology at Cambridge University in the late 1980s before doing an MA in European affairs at the College of Europe in Bruges.
  • The 40-year-old Clegg described himself as a liberal during his party leadership acceptance speech. "I am a liberal by temperament, by instinct and by upbringing," he said, adding, “My own family was marked, scattered, reunited by the tragic conflicts of the last century."
  • Clegg’s detractors in the leadership race called him more "right-wing" than his rival Chris Huhne, 53, while his supporters emphasised his likely youthful appeal to the electorate.
  • The party`s law and order spokesman, he is a former journalist and is MP for Sheffield Hallam, having entered Parliament in 2005.
  • He was a Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands in 1999 until he stood down in 2004.
  • He is quite forthcoming as far as his personal life is concerned. During a TV interview, he revealed that he had slept with “no more than 30 women”, further admitting he was not an “active believer” in God.
  • Clegg, a keen skier, is married with a Spanish lawyer and has three children. He is multilingual, and can speak English, Dutch, French, German and Spanish.

    Compiled by: Kamna Arora



  • First Published: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 - 09:20

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