Page last updated at 10:33 GMT, Saturday, 4 October 2008 11:33 UK

In quotes: Mandelson reaction

The appointment of Peter Mandelson to the cabinet post of business secretary - his third return to the British government, has split opinion among Labour MPs and beyond. Here is the reaction from politicians and business people on the most controversial part of Gordon Brown's reshuffle.

GORDON BROWN

Serious people are needed for serious times... Peter Mandelson has proved himself as commissioner in the last few years as someone of great distinction. What i've decided is what I believe is in the national interest... He's got an unrivalled experience as the trade commissioner for the European commission. Everybody has said right round the world that he's done a brilliant job. We need all those people with brilliance and expertise to help us as we meet these unchartered times... He's part of a team working together... I am pleased he has agreed to join it... Our personal relations will be very good... Whatever the ups and downs have been in the past, everybody has got to come together and make sure that as a nation we come through this successfully.

MANDELSON ON HIS NEW JOB, TO PRESS OUTSIDE NO. 10

Well I very much enjoyed my work in Europe and working on trade and development issues but the Prime Minister has asked me to come back. Our economy like every other is facing a very hard challenge as a result of the global financial crisis. And in a sense it's all hands on deck. So I will be working, along with the rest of the government, as hard as I can to help protect our economy and pull us through it. And that is the most I can offer.

WILL YOU BE A LORD?

I'm not a Lord no.

HOW DO YOU GET ON WITH THE PRIME MINISTER THESE DAYS?

I get on with him fine thank you very much. I think he's doing an exceptionally good job in what are very, very challenging conditions for our country. But as I know, because I travel round the world in my present job as European trade commissioner, I know that the whole of the world is together in facing these exceptional challenges. They are, I don't know whether they're unprecedented, but we've seen nothing like them in our lifetime and we all have to come together as the government is doing and as this country will do, and each of us has to play our part and that's what I propose to do myself.

YOUR RELATIONSHIP [with Mr Brown] IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST FROSTY PERIODS IN POLITICS, ISN'T IT?

Well I think you're exaggerating to make a point. But of course we've had our ups and downs but we have also known each other for over 20 years. And originally we worked very well together and I am very proud to have been invited to serve in his government. It's not what I was seeking and it's certainly not what I was expecting but nonetheless it's a great opportunity and a great challenge and I look forward to returning back to being with my colleagues and my friends again in the Labour government.

WHY ARE YOU PUTTING THE LABOUR PARTY THROUGH THE RISK OF YOUR PRESENCE ONCE AGAIN?

Third time lucky.

ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE SECRETARY ED MILIBAND

[Gordon Brown] wants a structure of government which reflects the needs of the time - that explains the setting up of my department. But he also wants to use talent wherever he finds it. And I think, you know, Peter Mandelson - some people like him, some people don't like him - but even his critics would accept that this is someone of immense talent, and also, someone of even greater experience, now that he's been the EU Trade Commissioner for three years. And I think British business will be thinking, actually, Peter Mandelson's a good person to be in charge of our interests in government.

JUSTICE SECRETARY JACK STRAW

I'm delighted. I think it's great. Peter is a man of very considerable talent. He also fits the job for which he's been flagged at Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. He fits that job like a glove. He's done a terrific job as the trade commissioner which is actually probably the toughest EU job of all so I think it's very, very important. It illustrates too how, after some wobbles earlier in the summer, the whole party is getting behind Gordon. They [Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson] were and they weren't [allies] is the answer. They were very close. There was a sort of triumvirate of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson through the 80s and early 90s. There was obviously, and this is perfectly well charted, some difficulties in the relationship when Tony Blair became leader and that was what the party wanted. It shows that Gordon is anxious to have a cabinet of all the talents and certainly in Peter Mandelson he's got someone who is hugely talented.

SHADOW FOREIGN SECRETARY WILLIAM HAGUE

In bringing back Peter Mandelson - the man who created Labour spin - [Gordon Brown] has broken his promise to govern in an honest and open way... You can only conclude that his appointment was designed to distract from the changes he should have made. By leaving in place a chancellor who has failed and a foreign secretary who has undermined him at every opportunity Gordon Brown has also been exposed as weak. With this bizarre reshuffle the prime minister has achieved the impossible and made the government even more dysfunctional.

BARRY GARDINER, MP WHO CALLED FOR LEADER CHALLENGE
This is the Gordon Brown many of us have wanted to see for a year now. It is showing decisiveness. It is showing leadership. Being able to put aside personal animosity in the way that he's obviously done with Peter Mandelson is an immensely good thing. Peter Mandelson is probably singularly the most highly qualified person to deal with matters of trade and industry... He has unrivalled experience.
LIBERAL DEMOCRAT MP NORMAN BAKER

It is astonishing to see Peter Mandelson back in government yet again. It seems no matter how many times he is wrapped in chains and thrown to the bottom of the Volga, up he pops again. True to form, he is attempting to gain power again and, this time, without any accountability to the electorate. As a member of the House of Lords, he will not be subject to the usual scrutiny in the House of Commons at Question Time.

FORMER HOME SECRETARY DAVID BLUNKETT

I thought it was extremely smart, not just because Peter Mandelson as trade commissioner has developed both an understanding and connections across the world which will be very useful to Britain, but because Peter was an extremely good trade and industry secretary a few years ago, and I think he brings that breadth of experience and contact which will be good for British business. It is embracing someone who, in the past, had been seen as being very close to Tony Blair, so it's an inclusive measure. It's someone who's got a tremendous breath of political experience and I think that adds to the weight of the cabinet. And I think he'll be prepared to tell the prime minister what he thinks, and that's good for the Prime Minister as it is for all of us.

LABOUR MP DR IAN GIBSON

It makes me very sad that he's come back. It's not about experience and what, you know, he's reputed to have done in Europe and understanding markets. It's about the association with new Labour, the Third Way, the old failed policies. And at a time when we really need something that's a bit more conducive to the public's views and requirements, I think this is a retrograde step.

GREEN PARTY LEADER AND MEP CAROLINE LUCAS

If there was ever a time to put the high priest of corporate globalisation in charge of regulating our wayward economy, this isn't it. You might as well get Al Capone to run a Young Offenders Institution. As EU trade commissioner, Mandelson has bullied his way through countless developing countries, demanding the sell-off of public services and trade rules for corporate convenience instead of public protection. Is that really what we want for the UK economy too?

CONSERVATIVE MEP SYED KAMALL

Peter Mandelson has generally decent views on free trade and did stand up to Sarkozy and other protectionists across the EU. Unfortunately he was unable to deliver a great deal. The EU is at a critical juncture in the battle between those who want free trade and those who would build a wall around our coastline. To replace Peter Mandelson now risks giving the protectionists in Europe an even stronger arm, which would be devastating at a time of already heightened economic nationalism.

FORMER LABOUR MP AND FATHER OF THE HOUSE TAM DALYELL

I am absolutely delighted. Peter Mandelson was a very effective cabinet minister, both in Northern Ireland and other portfolios. On top of that, he has unique experience in Europe and I think this is a superb appointment. I am 100% delighted. I have this volcanic reaction partly because he knows a heck of a lot about it and partly because he will carry great weight with the prime minister. All the old baggage is past history.

LABOUR MP PETER KILFOYLE

I fully support the principle of reshuffling cabinet in order to make it better prepared to meet the needs of the forthcoming election. However, I believe that the recall of twice disgraced former MP Peter Mandelson is a thoroughly retrograde step which will do nothing to promote unity within the Labour Party. On the contrary, the appointment is highly divisive, and he remains a highly divisive figure within the Labour movement.

LABOUR MP GRAHAM STRINGER

Bringing back Peter Mandelson ... does bring back more weight and balance to the cabinet. I think it is Gordon Brown trying to start again. He's had a terrible, terrible year where we have plummeted in the opinion polls, and I think it is him saying: 'I got it wrong, let's start again'.

LIB DEM LEADER'S CHIEF OF STAFF DANNY ALEXANDER

Gordon Brown is deluded if he thinks that Peter Mandelson can help him convince the British people that his party still has what it takes to govern this country. Resurrecting ex-ministers from the political graveyard is not going to breathe new life into Gordon Brown's zombie government.

JOHN WRIGHT, FEDERATION OF SMALL BUSINESSES

This shock return is no surprise to us given Mr Mandelson's previous tenure at the DTI and his current position as Britain's European commissioner for trade. Mr Mandelson's experience will mean that he can do away with the probationary period and get straight into the business of dealing with the current credit crunch. We will be seeking an early meeting with him in order to convey some very easy-to-implement measures to safeguard the future of small businesses during these difficult times.

JOHN CRIDLAND, DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF THE CBI

John Hutton has succeeded in giving the new Department for Business a sense of mission and drive that was lacking at its predecessor, the DTI. In particular, he has taken decisive action to try to deliver energy security of supply in the future. The Department for Business must have a heavyweight political big hitter at the cabinet table, and we are encouraged that Peter Mandelson is returning to this role.

BOOKMAKER WILLIAM HILL

William Hill offered odds of 10/1 that Peter Mandelson will be gone from the Cabinet by the next General Election. Mr Mandelson was twice forced to resign from the Government.

The bookmaker had Mr Mandelson 50/1 to be the next Labour leader.

"We are paying out to the people who backed him at 3/1 not to see out his European tenure," said spokesman Graham Sharpe.



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