Brown's joy: 'I'm a father... Nothing else matters more than that. Nothing'

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Indy Politics

Gordon Brown looked like a man who had wiped out the national debt, won the World Cup for Scotland and been given the keys to No 10, all at once, as he stood outside the hospital where his wife rested with their new son, John, yesterday.

Baby Brown, who was born by Caesarean section on Friday morning, weighing 8lb 1oz, has been named after the Chancellor's father.

"We think we must be the happiest family in Britain today," said Mr Brown as he stood in the sunshine outside the new Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. It's been an amazing 24 hours."

The usually sombre politician, dressed in an open-necked white shirt, appeared tired but could not stop smiling, and joked that the economy was momentarily far from his mind. "The only growth figures that I'll be thinking about are the rising weight and the rising height of the baby."

Less than two years ago he had stood outside the old Royal Infirmary building and talked about the death of the Browns' first child, Jennifer, who died 10 days after her premature birth. "We've had hundreds, indeed thousands of letters from parents, some of whom have lost their baby. Although the sadness remains, there is joy in the morning, and we have seen that in the last day. I'm a father and that's what matters most. Nothing else matters more than that. Nothing."

The 52-year-old new father had celebrated John's birth with a glass of champagne at his home in Fife on Friday night. Visitors to Sarah, 38, at the hospital included J K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books and a family friend, who described the baby as "really gorgeous".

Mr Brown's elder brother John said: "He is a beautiful boy. We're so delighted and, given the anxieties they've had over the last two years, it's great for the family."

The consultant obstetrician who delivered the baby has said Gordon and Sarah Brown "wept tears of joy" at his birth.

Gordon Brown praised the "extraordinary care" given by staff at the Infirmary and at the Forth Park hospital in Kirkcaldy. He said mother and child were expected to leave hospital on Tuesday, and that he would be taking paternity leave.

Mr Brown said the couple had not known if the baby would be a boy or girl before the birth. John would be given a middle name later, probably one that had something to do with Sarah Brown's family.

"I don't know whether he's going to be a footballer or a rugby player, but he's certainly a strong boy and he's full of fun," said the proud father.

"Our baby is wonderful, he's beautiful. He's really full of energy and I think he's going to keep me awake for quite a number of days, weeks and months." He added: "If I'm woken up in the middle of night by John, it's better than being woken up by something happening to the economy."

Mr Brown was present when his child was born. "It's wonderful to see the birth of the baby itself and I was there all the time. I think people know it was a Caesarean section, and that it had been perhaps difficult for Sarah, but it was great and everything went well."

The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was among the first to express delight at the news. He said: "Cherie and I are absolutely delighted. I have passed our very best wishes to Gordon and Sarah. We are delighted that mother and baby are doing so well."

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