Brown reveals feelings about daughter's death

PM admits to fights with Blair and holds back tears in his most intimate interview

An emotional Gordon Brown has spoken movingly about the moment he realised his first child Jennifer Jane was going to die, days after she was born.

The Prime Minister fought back tears as he told interviewer Piers Morgan how he had turned to a doctor in front of his wife Sarah and asked him whether their daughter would not survive.

"We thought everything was fine. She had... she had been born prematurely but I'd been there at the birth. I'd seen this lovely baby. She was certainly getting special, special care in an incubator. But everybody was very positive and optimistic," he said in the interview to be shown on ITV1 on Sunday.

"It only gradually dawned on us. Nobody actually really told us for a week, it just gradually dawned on us that, that something, something was going wrong and she wasn't getting bigger, she wasn't growing and no matter what treatment that was being given to her she, she wasn't able to respond to it... and then probably after a week Sarah and I... she was in the special care [unit]. I turned to the doctor and I said, 'She's not going to live is she?' And he said, 'No, I don't think so. She's not going to live.'"

Mr Brown went on: "So we had a weekend where we just knew that she was not going to... not going to survive. And she was baptised and we were with her and I held her as she... as she died... this is the happiest time of your life and then suddenly it becomes the most grief-stricken time of your life. It was such a pendulum swing."

Mr Brown suggested his partnership with his wife was so strong because of the tragedy. "My admiration and respect and love for Sarah just grew and grew and grew."

After their second son Fraser was born with cystic fibrosis, Mr Brown admitted: "We sometimes say well, why, why, why, why us? You know, why did this happen to us? But... I feel we've been pretty fortunate in life, because although we've had these tragedies we've been given the privilege of having a son even though we lost a daughter, and then our second son... nobody thought that that would be possible either. So we, we feel pretty fortunate."

The Prime Minister, who has not talked in such detail about his family before, revealed how he proposed to his future wife on a remote beach in Scotland on the night of the new millennium on 1 January 2000. He called the relationship a "modern love story".

Mr Brown admitted he is "determined and strong-willed" but denied he was "grumpy". He acknowledged that he needed to "get better" at presentation, saying: "I'm not very good sometimes at presenting what I do... But deep down I'm actually thinking about how we do things rather than how we say things."

The Prime Minister made his most candid admission of the "tensions" and "fights" between him and Tony Blair since the death of the then Labour leader John Smith in 1994. Admitting that he felt he was the right person to become party leader, he said: "I believed I could do the job, I believed that I'd built up the experience to do it.

"I don't deny there were fights about different issues but it's always the case. In fact it's better to be open and honest and say there were disagreements about certain things but at the same time we managed, I think in the national interest, to get... to get things sorted out."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high