Mandelson makes a surprise return in Cabinet reshuffle
The big story this morning is the unexpected news that Peter Mandelson is set to return from Brussels and commence his third stint in Cabinet, this time as Business Secretary with a seat in the Lords.
Elsewhere, John Hutton moves from Business to replace Des Browne at Defence, while Geoff Hoon takes over at Transport from the departing Ruth Kelly. Margaret Beckett returns in a “cabinet enforcer” role, Ed Miliband will head up the new energy and climate change department, while Nick Brown is expected to be the new chief whip. Baroness Ashton will be Mandelson’s replacement in Brussels.
So what does the return of Mandelson mean for the Brown government? Certainly it is a reminder that a Prime Minister still retains a capacity to surprise even if in a weakened state. Will bringing back one of the architects of New Labour prove to be an inspired choice from the PM or is it merely the sound of a barrel being scraped?
Is this a bold piece of “out-of-the-box” thinking from Brown, or does it demonstrate how weak the PM has become that he has to bring back someone with whom he has had tensions in the past and who has departed Cabinet twice already?