People and Business: Spin doctor's day out

THE HORSES took second place to a fascinating confrontation yesterday between Charlie Whelan, Chancellor Gordon Brown's former press adviser, and Ben Wegg-Prosser, the disturbingly youthful-looking former personal adviser to Peter Mandelson. It was Mr Mandelson, of course, who was forced to resign as trade secretary due to a leak about a certain home in Notting Hill, London, which he blamed on his political rival Mr Brown.

Observers licked their lips at the prospect of a meeting, but were disappointed to see them deep in chummy conversation. Mr Whelan later said: "I'm doing much better than him, at least I've found a new job. I've been giving him a few tips."

I also learnt that Mr Whelan performed the entire "Heart of Midlothian" to a fascinated audience the previous night to celebrate St Patrick's Day.

Mr Whelan has not been idle since leaving Number 11, writing a football column for the Observer and occasional pieces for this very organ. He is also doing the usual "this and that".