Page last updated at 09:23 GMT, Monday, 17 November 2008

Mandelson admits Strictly 'envy'

Lord Mandelson on BBC Breakfast

Lord Mandelson says he has been watching Strictly Come Dancing with "a degree of envy" and told the BBC it would be nice to be asked to take part.

The business secretary said he was supporting ex-political correspondent John Sergeant on the show.

But he joked he was a better dancer and offered to demonstrate his skills next time he was invited onto the BBC.

Lord Mandelson later added: "It would be nice at least to be invited into the audience."

Lord Mandelson was on BBC Breakfast to talk about the economy, but was asked about John Sergeant's dancing efforts - which have been criticised by the show's judges but have won him huge public support.

He replied: "I was cheering for John Sergeant on Saturday with, I have to say, a degree of... envy."

Asked if he would star on the BBC show he joked: "It would be nice to be asked."

He said he was a better dancer but, in a later BBC interview dominated by the government's efforts to shore up the economy amid the downturn, declined the chance to demonstrate.

"Not this morning, because it's too serious but another day invite me back and I will show you what I can do."

Asked if he had really suggested he could take part, he replied it would be nice at least to join the audience: "I'm not backtracking. Have you ever seen me dance?"

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