Peter Hoskin

Brown’s Mandy dilemma

Brown's Mandy dilemma
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Oh dear.  You feel it had to happen sometime, and here it is: news that Labour MPs are calling on Gordon Brown to "rein in" Peter Mandelson.  Predictably, it's over the continuing Royal Mail row; something that, as it happens, Mandy's on the right side of.


So far as Brown's concerned, increased hostility towards Mandy puts him in a tricky position.  After all, it was Brown's idea to ennoble Mandelson and draft him back into government in the first place.  He did so against a fair amount of internal opposition.  So if the PM doesn't stand by his business secretary - if he caves into the calls coming from the backbenches - it leaves him looking especially weak.  But if he appears to give Mandelson his full backing, then some of the flak will most likely fall on Brown as well, further fuelling all those party split stories.


And, of course, there's always the question of how the scorpion will react if let down by the frog...