'Delighted' Browns say second baby is on the way

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Gordon Brown and his wife, Sarah, are expecting a baby in July. Congratulations poured in from the Chancellor's family, friends and from political figures - led by the Prime Minister - after the news became public yesterday.

Mr Brown, 54, and Mrs Brown, 42, already have a two-year-old son, John. Their first child, Jennifer, born prematurely, died in January 2002 aged 10 days.

A spokesman for Mr Brown said: "Sarah Brown is pregnant and expecting a child in July. Sarah and Gordon are absolutely delighted by the news." Tony Blair was one of the first with a goodwill message. His official spokesman said: "Congratulations is the word."

Since the arrival of John Brown, named after his paternal grandfather, the Chancellor pronounced himself part of the "happiest family in Britain" and said that he would be "a father first of all". He has also said that he was unable to listen to music for nearly a year after the death of Jennifer although he and Sarah were comforted by thousands of letters they received from other couples who had suffered similar experiences.

The number of high-profile political births has risen noticeably since Labour came to power, with Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Education, blazing the trail by having her first child 11 days after she arrived in the Commons, followed by three more, the last one being the first baby born to a serving government minister.

Leo Blair also set a record in 2000, by being the first baby born to a serving Prime Minister since 1849, when Lord John Russell was in Downing Street. The most recent in the line was Charles Kennedy's son, Donald James, born during last year's general election campaign. David Cameron is due to become a father for the third time next month.

In one recent interview, Mr Brown was asked if he would look old in comparison to the new Tory leader. He replied: "I'm a father of a two-year-old child - I feel pretty young." After John was born, Mr Brown confided: "There are sleepless nights but there is a spring in my step every morning."

The Chancellor's elder brother, John, said: "We are absolutely delighted. It's great news for Sarah and for Gordon - and for John, who was two in October. It will be nice for him to have a new brother or sister."

The Rev Christopher Park, the minister at Mr Brown's local church in North Queensferry, Fife, said: "We are all delighted."