Page last updated at 16:58 GMT, Tuesday, 21 July 2009 17:58 UK

Committees reveal Mandelson clout

Lord Mandelson and Gordon Brown on a recent visit to a Nissan car plant
Lord Mandelson is an influential figure in the government

Lord Mandelson is a member of 35 Cabinet committees covering domestic, economic and foreign policy, details published by the government show.

The full committee list published by No 10 indicates the First Secretary of State and Business Secretary's influence across government.

The committees he sits on include public spending, democratic renewal, Afghanistan and flu pandemic planning.

The Conservatives have criticised what they say is the peer's 'power base'.

'Pulling the strings'

According to the Cabinet Office, Lord Mandelson sits on 35 of the 44 Cabinet committees and sub-committees which oversee government business.

He sits on more committees than either the prime minister, the chancellor or the foreign secretary.

These include areas such as health, immigration, climate change, trade, Africa, Olympics planning and food.

A No 10 spokesman said Lord Mandelson's position in government covered a broad range of issues and his membership on the cabinet committees reflected that.

Lord Mandelson says he is getting on with the job of helping the UK through the recession and shaping policy for an upturn in the economy.

The Tories say, being unelected, he should not have so much influence and his status is a reward for his support for Gordon Brown during the recent leadership crisis.

"It is obvious that Peter Mandelson is the real unelected prime minister pulling the strings at No 10", a Conservative spokesman said.

Gordon Brown brought Lord Mandelson back into the Cabinet last October, making him a life peer.

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