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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea