David Blackburn

Mandelson: I would work with the Tories

Mandelson: I would work with the Tories
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The Conservative party’s seizure of the progressive agenda and the rhetoric of liberal democracy suggests that Cameron intends to build a broad coalition. But how large would the Tories’ tent be? Peter Mandelson reveals that he would have no trouble “serving his country” under a Conservative government.

‘In an interview with The Sunday Times magazine, the business secretary said he would be willing to put his “experience at the disposal of the country”, if Labour lost power. “As I grow older, I can imagine more ways of serving my country than simply being a party politician,” he said.

Asked whether he might use his experience in business and world trade under a future government, he said: “If I was asked to do something for my country using that asset base, of course, I would consider it.”

On the specific point of whether he would consider requests from a Conservative government, he said: “Of course, it wouldn’t be serving the government, it would be serving the country and I wouldn’t be doing it by becoming a member of that government.”

Mandelson, who will be 56 next month, said he was “too tribal” ever to become a Tory minister and insisted he was focused on helping Labour win the election.’

Regardless of Mandelson’s extensive experience and undoubted political skill, Post-‘Yachtgate’ and having been the recipients of repeated slurs, it’s unthinkable that the Conservatives could or would want to accomodate Mandelson. A Tory source told the Sunday Times: "We are building a broad coalition but including Peter Mandelson may be stretching it.” On the first morning of the Labour conference, Mandelson’s statements sound defeatist. But his patrician’s appeal to Cameron’s broad tent out of a sense of patriotism is another episode in the public re-invention of Peter Mandelson.