Mandy in the firing line
Posted by Jamie at 8 33 PM on Saturday, July 17
LABOUR’S five leadership rivals yesterday united in condemning Peter Mandelson for publishing his damaging memoirs.
They demanded he quit politics after exposing Labour in-fighting in The Third Man.
Leadership favourite David Miliband called the memoirs “self-destructive” at a union hustings attended by all candidates in London yesterday.
His brother, frontrunner Ed Miliband, said: “Party members and supporters will have found it really sickening this week.”
Former Health Secretary Andy Burnham — a keen Everton FC fan — likened the book to Wayne Rooney “spilling the secrets” on his time at the club. He added: “Peter likes the spotlight and it is time to leave the stage and let a new generation put forward its case for the Labour party.”
Ed Balls, Gordon Brown’s former right-hand man, said: “Peter is perfectly entitled to publish his memoirs but to do so in such a divisive and damaging way is really sad.”
Outsider Diane Abbott said she would not buy the book because “I refuse to put money in his pocket”. She added: “It is very damaging.”
Tony Blair is also furious with Mandelson for rushing into print with his insider account before the ex-PM’s own book comes out.
Meanwhile the candidates were branded “out of touch” for not knowing the cost of everyday items such as a pint of milk, second-class stamp, litre of petrol or a prescription. And they could not name a figure for jobseekers’ allowance, child benefits, minimum wage and state pension. Only Diane Abbott knew the price of a bus fare.