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Thursday, 25 January, 2001, 14:25 GMT
'The end of the affair'
Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair
Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair close allies divided by scandal
From a tabloid's gleeful farewell "Goodbye and Good Riddance" to a broadsheet's, "Passport to oblivion", it was clear that few tears were shed in Fleet Street over Peter Mandelson's departure.

Of course the minister's swipe against "constant media pressure" in his farewell speech outside No 10 will not have won him many allies.

Most predicted the end of his political career.

This was perhaps best summed up by The Mirror.

The Mirror
Using a poster front page it depicted a cracking gravestone bearing the epitaph "R.I.Peter" the "dearly beloved friend of Tony Blair - dearly reviled by almost everyone else".

Amongst the five inside pages devoted to the resignation, was an "exclusive" from political editor James Hardy.

He said a "friend" of the departed minister revealed the final interview at No. 10 was far from a polite discussion.

"Peter fought tooth and nail for his job," he says. "But Mr Blair was adamant he should resign."

Adamant he may have seemed but commentator Andrew Rawnsley - also in The Mirror - said the PM's nerve was steadied by the "ruthless" Alastair Campbell who "sharpened the blade and guided the Prime Minister's hand to bring it down on their old friend's neck".


Across London there was a dabbing of eyes in the trendy shirtmakers and in the coffee bars of Notting Hill

Boris Johnson
Rawnsley says Mr Mandelson made a fatal error. "In the hierarchy of New Labour the really capital offence is to mislead Alastair Campbell."

The Times also believes Mr Mandelson is heading for the political wilderness and devotes its front page picture slot to a giant wordless cartoon of Mr Mandelson as a Dodo - a very dead Dodo.

However, it could be a lucrative wilderness for the man it dubs an "evil genius". A literary expert tells the paper he could net 1m for his memoirs - more than almost any other politician.

"Across London there was a dabbing of eyes in the trendy shirtmakers and in the coffee bars of Notting Hill," declares the irrepressible Boris Johnson in The Daily Telegraph.

It also finds hope for Mr Mandelson. It describes him as a stalwart of a very different kind of party - the London Dinner Party - in which he could still have a future.

Daily Mail
The Guardian sombrely devotes six broadsheet pages to "A glittering career in ruins".

It is one of the few papers to spare column inches on the new Northern Ireland Secretary, Dr John Reid.

It notes he is a "sophisticated political thinker" whose career previously suffered a setback when his son was caught up in a cash-for-access scandal.

Guardian sketch writer Simon Hoggart describes Mr Mandelson as "the depleted uranium of the government - supported in public, lethal in practice."

Revelling in the scandal is The Sun which shows a grimacing picture of the departing minister inside a lifebelt with the vicious words: "Mandelson's out on his ear again because he is a lying, manipulative, oily, two-faced nasty piece of work who should never have been allowed back into the Government."

The Sun
Inside it reveals that new advertising billboards are being rushed out by the Tories to take advantage of Labour's embarrassment over its departing campaign manager.

The Independent claims Peter Mandelson was as attracted to the exhilaration of risk as an addict to a drug.

Meanwhile The Daily Mail announces the resignation as "The end of the affair" but shows it has no intention of letting the passport scandal lie.

It puts 12 questions to Labour about Srichand Hinduja's passport application before throwing the spotlight onto Keith Vaz, the Minister for Europe.

The paper asks why Mr Vaz wrote letters about the Hinduja brothers to both Mr Mandelson and Mr Blair and insists the public should know what those letters contained.

The Independent
It has also uncovered a firm which is optimistic about Mr Mandelson's career - bookmakers William Hill who were offering odds of 7-1 that he would be back in the cabinet by 2005.

Striking out on its own is The Daily Star - the only paper not to splash on the resignation.

Inside its main story focuses on Mr Mandelson's partner asking: "Has yer boyfriend got a passport Mandy?".

It claims, with no apparent evidence, that there is a question mark over the citizenship of Brazilian Reinaldo da Silva.

Most papers visited Mandelson's Hartlepool electorate where they could find little support for the MP, in contrast to the electorate's feeling after his 1998 resignation.

Despite this, Mr Mandelson announced on Thursday he would be standing for re-election in Hartlepool.

Peter Mandelson is at the centre of a row over passport applications

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24 Jan 01 | N Ireland
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