Mandelson, the ultimate spin doctor, rose to fame after his instrumental role in bringing what passes for the Labour Party to power in 1997 but was subsequently twice forced to resign. The first time was in 1996 when it was revealed that he'd bought a house using an interest-free loan of £373,000 from Geoffrey Robinson, the millionaire MP whose business affairs were investigated by Mandelson's own governmental department. The resulting scandal - especially after it turned out that he hadn't declared the loan to his building society - would have been sufficient to kill off a lesser politician's career, but it was just a temporary setback for Peter, who after just ten months returned to life and became Mo Mowlam's replacement as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Claims that this was made possible by slitting the throats of virgins and allowing their blood to drip into his coffin are unsubstantiated.
will survive: rats, cockroaches and Peter Mandelson.
Then, in 2001, it emerged that Mandelson had made a telephone call to Home Office minister Mike O'Brien on behalf of Srichand Hinduja,the Indian businessman who was seeking British citizenship and had been involved in the Bofors scandal, a serious corruption scandal in India during the 1980s. Although Mandelson claimed to have done nothing wrong - an investigation also stated that he had not acted improperly - he was nevertheless forced to resign once again.
But still he wouldn't die. Proving that he was even harder to kill off than Rasputin, Mandelson walked amongst the living and decided he'd like to become a European Commissioner - which he managed in November 2004 when he was made Commissioner for Trade. During his time in that position, he "“requested a luxury £80,000 Maserati as his official EU car” according to the Daily Express, and it emerged that melamine added to Chinese milk had hospitalised tens of thousands of Chinese children as it caused kidney stones and other problems - to show that he believed Chinese milk to be safe, Mandelson drank a glass of it in front of television cameras and nine days later was himself in hospital to have...a kidney stone removed.
Mandelson was also caught up by the Deripaska Affair, which revealed that he had maintained rather a chummy relationship with Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska, whose company RusAl was set to benefit financially from the decision to cut EU aluminium tariffs - a decision made by Mandelson as Commissioner for Trade.
October 2008 saw him return to the British Government, when Gordon Brown gave him the Business Secretary post - he also became a Life Peer, entitling him to a seat in the House of Lords. The Guardian claimed him to be, in all but title, "the new deputy Prime Minister" which must have irritated Harriet Harman, who held that post.
In January this year, the Mail on Sunday reported that Mandelson has purchased a London property in 2006 for £2.5 million - around 16 times his European Commisioner salary. mandelson claimed that he had raised the money by selling shares he held in an advertising agency, combined with a large legacy from his mother. However, further investigation discovered that records held at Companies House showed the shares had not been sold until 2007. What's more, the legacy was £452,000 - less than 20% of the property's value.
More recently, the Daily Telegraph - in its ongoing MP expenses investigation - has revealed he claimed £3000 for maintenance to his Hartlepool constituency home during the week after he announced his decision to stand down.
Although Mandelson has claimed to support Miliband and says that he is happy to stay put, senior Government figures have said that he has expressed an interest in the position to Gordon Brown who is believed to be undecided on the issue due to the fact that it would be seen as insult to Miliband and uncertainty as to how British troops overseas would feel about an unelected peer filling the role, which assumes responsibility for military action in other nations such as Afghanistan. The PM doesn't seem too concerned about how the British electorate might feel about having such a slimy little toad, elected or not, representing their nation.
The reshuffle is planned for 5th June, after the local and European elections which may see Labour beaten into fourth place behind the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and even the BNP.