Letter: Mandy's election

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Sir: Roy Hattersley was mistaken in his review of Mandy (23 January) concerning Peter Mandelson's appointment as the Labour Party director of communications.

The National Executive was heavily factionalised in 1985 and on the day (24 September) there was 24 votes round the table. At the end of the interviewing procedure 12 votes on the right were lined up behind Peter and 12 votes were behind the left candidate.

During the interviews Neil Kinnock prevailed upon myself and another member of the left faction to switch our votes to Peter, which, after much soul-searching, and to help Neil build the team he wanted, we both eventually did. Peter was therefore elected by 14 votes to 10.

After the interviews I telephoned the unsuccessful left candidate to apologise for the way I had voted.

She was gracious in defeat and has said on many occasions since that we appointed the best person to the job. The left faction was much less forgiving and we received the usual ritual denunciation. The rest is history.


London SE6