Thursday, 11 June 2009

Peter Mandelson - Would you trust this man?

Would you give him a seat in the House of Lords, one of the highest honours in the land? Gordon would.

Peter Benjamin Mandelson, Baron Mandelson of Foy in the county of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the county of Durham, Privy Councillor (born 21 October 1953) is a British Labour Party politician who is the current UK First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Lord President of the Council.

Mandelson served as Member of Parliament for Hartlepool for twelve years, a seat he vacated in order to become a European Commissioner. When he returned to the Cabinet in 2008, he was created a life peer.

In 1971 left the Labour Party Young Socialists (LPYS) to join the Young Communist League, then the youth wing of the Communist Party of Great Britain.

He was a delegate in 1978 to the Soviet-organised World Festival of Youth and Students in Havana, Cuba, with Arthur Scargill and several future Labour cabinet colleagues.

He worked as a television producer at London Weekend Television on Weekend World, forming an enduring friendship with John Birt, then LWT's Director of Programmes, before being appointed as the Labour Party's Director of Communications in 1985. Mandelson was able to secure close friendships within the Labour Party due to uncle Alexander Butler who had worked alongside many important Labour politicians during the 1960s.

He ceased being a Labour Party official in 1990, when he was selected as Labour candidate for the safe seat of Hartlepool. He was elected to the House of Commons at the 1992 general election.

After the election, Blair appointed him as a Minister without Portfolio in the Cabinet Office, where his job was to co-ordinate within government. A few months later, he also acquired responsibility for the Millennium Dome, after Blair decided to go ahead with the project despite the opposition of most of the Cabinet (including the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who had been running it). Jennie Page, the Dome Chief Executive was abruptly sacked after a farcical opening night.

In December 1998, it was revealed Mandelson had bought a home in Notting Hill in 1996 with the assistance of an interest-free loan of £373,000 from Geoffrey Robinson, a millionaire Labour MP who was also in the Government, but was subject to an inquiry into his business dealings by Mandelson's department. Although Mandelson alleged he had deliberately not taken part in any decisions relating to Robinson, he knew he should have declared the loan as an interest, and he resigned on 23 December 1998. Mandelson had also not declared the loan to his building society (the Britannia) although they decided not to take any action, with the CEO stating "I am satisfied that the information given to us at the time of the mortgage application was accurate."

In January 2001, it was revealed Mandelson had phoned Home Office minister Mike O'Brien on behalf of Srichand Hinduja, an Indian businessman who was seeking British citizenship, and whose family firm was to become the main sponsor of the "Faith Zone" in the Millennium Dome. At the time, Hinduja and his brothers were under investigation by the Indian government for alleged involvement in the Bofors scandal. On 24 January 2001, Mandelson resigned from the Government for a second time,insisting he had done nothing wrong.

On 22 November 2004, Mandelson became Britain's European Commissioner for Trade. On 22 April 2005, The Times revealed that Mandelson had spent the previous New Year's Eve on the yacht of Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, which is at the centre of a major EU investigation, although it did not allege impropriety.

On 3 October 2008, as part of Gordon Brown's cabinet reshuffle, it was announced that Mandelson would return to government in the re-drawn post of Business Secretary, and would be made a life peer, entitling him to a seat in the House of Lords. On 13 October 2008 he was created Baron Mandelson, of Foy in the county of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the county of Durham.

In October 2008 Mandelson was reported by the press to have maintained private contacts over several years with Russia oligarch Oleg Deripaska, most recently on holiday in August 2008 on Deripaska's yacht at Taverna Agni on the Greek island of Corfu. News of the contacts sparked criticism because, as European Union trade commissioner, Mandelson had been responsible for two decisions to cut aluminium tariffs that had benefited Deripaska's United Company RusAl.Mandelson denied that there had been a conflict of interest and insisted that he had never discussed aluminium tariffs with Deripaska

On 14 January 2009 the Mail on Sunday asked how he had financed the purchase of a villa in London. Public records showed that he had paid £2.5 million for the property in 2006: almost 16 times his then salary as an EU commissioner. Reports at the time said that he had sold his shares in an advertising agency and received a large legacy from his mother, but Companies House records showed that the shares were not sold until 2007, while a copy of his mother's will revealed that he had been left only £452,000.

In a reshuffle on 5 June 2009, Lord Mandelson was appointed to the honorific office of First Secretary of State, making him Deputy Prime Minister in all but name, a controversial position for an un-elected politician. Mandelson was also appointed to the position of Lord President of the Council. It was also announced that he would continue in his role as Business Secretary, with much expanded powers.

Peter Mandelson, the European Trade Commissioner once said:

“We are now entering the post-democratic age.”

Is that the age when the people get to see corrupt politicians standing handcuffed in the dock?

Hat tip - Haymansafc


  1. No I would not.

    Sadly, he is now the King of England.

  2. What a murky past, full of strange ... I shouldn't say bed fellows but.... very strange.


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