James Forsyth

Mandelson’s candid reflections on being the third person in Blair and Brown’s marriage

Mandelson's candid reflections on being the third person in Blair and Brown's marriage
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Robert Crampton’s interview with Peter Mandelson in The Times magazine today is compelling reading. Mandelson talks frankly about the Blair-Brown marriage and how he ‘was the third person in the marriage. I was the casualty.’ It is this that Mansdelson thinks ‘wrecked’ his political career.

Mandelson is remarkably candid about how divided things were. At one point Mandelson declares, ‘Everyone was divided, the government was divided, MPs were divided, the media was divided, into camps’. The language he uses is also strikingly emotional even apart from the marriage analogy. When talking about advising Blair from exile Mandelson says, ‘I always felt it was important for me to be there for Tony and I was, any time, any day, and he knew he could talk top me about anything, and I did. But somehow it was always as if we were having to operate behind some thin veil.’ However, he won’t comment on whether or not Brown has apologised to him for what happened, insisting that ‘must remain private between us.’

On the policy front, he acknowledges that New Labour was so keen to distance itself from ‘Old Labour’ that it didn’t regulate the City effectively. Those trying to read the Labour leadership runes will note that Ed Miliband has told Mansdelson that he feels like Peter is his benign uncle.

PS Do read the whole thing, a selection of quotes really can’t do the piece justice. The whole thing strengthens me in my conviction that Mandelson’s autobiography, whenever that comes, will be one of the great British political books. 

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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