Minister's moves up property ladder

MORE THAN a few eyebrows arched in Westminster when Peter Mandelson secured a four-storey Georgian house in London's fashionable Notting Hill.

For around pounds 475,000 Mr Mandelson was able to land a property surrounded by leading figures from his natural habitat of media and politics. But no sooner had he secured the fine house in Northumberland Place two years ago than tongues began to wag.

After all, how does a backbench MP, then on around pounds 43,000, move so swiftly without apparent means from a ground-floor flat in Clerkenwell, London, into a fine Notting Hill property?

His home is conservatively thought to be now worth about pounds 600,000. Not bad for a man who once had to share a room with Tony Blair's baby daughter while on the hustings.

His "other home" is a pounds 70,000 house in his Hartlepool constituency. But his heart has always been in London and the interior of his W11 home has been designed to his minimalist taste.