Gordon Brown Reshuffle Shock: "I'm Mandy, Fly Me!"
PETER Mandelson returns to the Cabinet for the THIRD time - having twice resigned in disgrace - as Secretary of State for DTI and Business Minister. He replaces Peter Hutton, who as predicted, has been axed and moved to Defence. Current Defence Secretary Des Browne has stood down from government.
The real shock of the day was Peter "Mandy" Mandelson's return for he and Gordon Brown have a long history of ferocious stand-up rows, each with a terrible temper and each capable of screaming obscenities at the other. Speculation now is how long it will be beofre there is a spectacular fall out between the pair.
The acrimony started when Mendelson gave his backng to Tony Blair in the previous leadership battle and Brown, who together with Mandelson had designed "New Labour" never quite forgave his old friend and bitterly loathed the man as Mandelson toadied up to the hated Blair.
Although Mandelson has an infamous reputation as a spin doctor and a supreme machiavellian - he has probably plunged the knife more than any other living politician in British politics - he is acknowledged to be a brilliant strategist and heavyweight, and this is what ailing Prime Minister Gordon Brown is hoping will rub off on himself to save his own bacon, with just one more year in power before a general election is called.
Gordon Brown today explained his astonishing decision to bring his bitter rival Peter Mandelson back into the cabinet as business secretary, saying: "Serious people are needed for serious times."
At a press conference in Downing Street, the prime minister said he was appointing Mandelson, who in the past has twice resigned from cabinet posts in controversial circumstances, because he needed "the best team" to help Britain through the global economic crisis.
Speaking before going into Downing Street this afternoon, Mandelson said that he had had his "ups and downs" with Brown but that he now got on "fine" with the prime minister.
"We have also known each other for 20 years and originally we worked very well together. I'm proud to have been invited to serve his government," Mandelson said.
"Our economy, like other other, is facing very hard challenges as a result of the global financial crisis and in a sense it's all hands to the deck. I will be working, along with the rest of the government, as hard as I can to protect our economy and pull us through it."
Unveiling a series of changes to the structure of government, including the creation of a national economic council, Brown said that problems such as the credit crunch and rising food and fuel prices meant he "wanted to reconstruct the way that we govern to meet these challenges".
As well as the return of Mandelson, Brown pointed to the appointment of senior business figures such as Lord Drayson, who is rejoining the government as science minister, and Paul Myners, the outgoing chairman of the Guardian Media Group who has become City minister, as evidence of the fact that he was compiling a heavyweight team.
Some Labour figures welcomed the return of Mandelson, one of the key architects of New Labour. But leftwingers were horrified and the Tories condemned the appointment as a "stunning failure of judgment".
Asked at the news conference why he was appointing Mandelson, Brown said: "Serious people are needed for serious times. He has got unrivalled experience as trade commissioner of the European Commission. Everybody around the world has said that he's done a superb job."
Brown went on: "We are bringing together the best team possible to deal with the difficulties [that we face]."
PRIME Minister Gordon Brown is this morning carrying out a reshuffle of his Cabinet, triggered by the stand down of Transport Secretary, Ruth Kelly, who yesterday also declared she would stand down as an MP at the next election, to concentrate on her family. Ms, Kelly has four children under eleven.
The speculation is as follows:
Business Minister John Hutton is to be axed as Secretary of State of the newly-formed B.E.R.R. it has been revealed. The department was previously known as the D.T.I. (Department of Trade & Industry) and is now the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. Blairite Mr. Hutton is not considered to be "hard-hitting enough".
In addition, Jim Murphy the Europe Minister is expected to head the Ulster, Wales and Scotland departments under one remit.
Des Browne will continue as Defence Minister after intense lobbying to keep him in the rôle but is unlikely to continue as Scottish Secretary.
The appointments and the expected reshuffle have not yet been officially announced.
However, the Telegraph has learned that Mr Hutton, the Business Secretary, is being considered for a move a different role. Because of the focus on the economy during the current financial crisis Mr Brown is looking at the way the Department for Business, Enterprise, and Regulatory Reform is run.
He could decide to put a heavier hitter in the role and beef up the department's responsibilities.
A final decision on whether to move Mr Hutton has still not been made. It is understood Mr Hutton remains confident that he will stay in his role.
As a very strong supporter of Tony Blair, Mr Hutton has always been viewed warily by some close to Mr Brown. However, the Prime Minister would be cautious about upsetting Mr Hutton who could prove a vocal critic if he was moved from the Government completely.
He has been touted as a possible Defence Secretary if Mr Brown decided to shift Des Browne from the Ministry of Defence. Mr Hutton would relish that move.
However, The Telegraph has been told that after lobbying by military chiefs Mr Browne will stay in his position, although he is unlikely to remain Scottish Secretary as well.
The Scotland, Wales and Ulster departments are likely to come under one Cabinet minister's remit, with Jim Murphy, the Europe Minister, favourite to land the role.
GORDON Brown, Prime Minister, is expected to announce a cabinet reshuffle later on today. There is speculation that Alastair Darling may be moved from Treasury after his disastrous "Britain is in a recession" remarks and replaced by current education minister, Ed Balls.
The Prime Minister will unveil a new Transport Secretary after Ruth Kelly announced last week that she was standing down for family reasons.
But because he has been spending almost all his time on the economic crisis Mr Brown is unlikely to make wider changes.
Lord Jones, the Trade Minister, might also be replaced. He has made it clear to friends that he does not envisage staying as a minister throughout the parliament and Mr Brown is understood to have grown weary of the former CBI director general’s off-message comments.
Throughout the summer there has been speculation that Mr Brown will carry out a major reshuffle to try and reinvigorate his team. Some of his allies have urged him to be bold and move Alistair Darling from the Treasury and replace him with Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary and close friend of Mr Brown.
But after a reasonably successful party conference last week that has resulted in a minor poll bounce, Mr Brown is not expected to change is key ministers.
Among those who could be promoted are Liam Byrne, the Immigration Minister, Jim Murphy, the Europe Minister and Tony McNulty, the Home Office minister.
The reshuffle was thrown into chaos last week when news of Miss Kelly’s departure leaked out overnight. Downing Street were forced to make an official announcement at 3am during the Labour Party conference.