As the country prepares for Peter Mandelson’s week in charge, The Mail on Sunday reports that the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O’Donnell, put the kybosh on him acquiring the title of Deputy Prime Minister. O’Donnell may well have said that it was inappropriate for a peer to be deputy PM but I would have thought that Harriet Harman would also have objected. As the elected deputy leader of the Labour party, I can’t imagine she would have taken kindly to somebody else grabbing the title of deputy PM which Brown had conspicuously failed to offer her. Given all of Brown’s women trouble at the time of the mid-plot reshuffle, I doubt that he could have risked angering Harman.
I suspect that the press will love Mandelson’s time minding the shop; the man is good copy and he will fill the August news vacuum nicely. One thing to watch for is how much he pushes his line that Labour is the underdog in British politics now.