Mandelson blamed for Labour's election 'disaster'

Lord Mandelson was today blamed for the "disaster" of Labour's general election campaign by one of Gordon Brown's closest allies.

In the first indication of a backlash against the former business secretary over his forthcoming memoirs, Charlie Whelan said Lord Mandelson had run the worst election campaign "in Labour's history".

Mr Whelan, political director of the Unite union, is a former press secretary to Mr Brown and remained close to him when he was prime minister.

His intervention came after Lord Mandelson, in an interview to promote his new book, said Mr Brown was "very badly served" by his aides and their "unbridled contempt" for Tony Blair.

Mr Whelan hit back, telling The Sunday Telegraph: "Peter ran the worst general election campaign in Labour's history.

"Nobody knew what the message was at all. It was a disaster from beginning to end."

He added: "Peter wasn't focused on the campaign at all. Clearly his only thoughts were for his book."

There are concerns in Labour circles about potential for the book, The Third Man, to highlight again the divisions and feuds at the top of the former Labour government.

It will be serialised from tomorrow.

Interviewed ahead of the serialisation, Lord Mandelson said that Mr Brown felt he, Lord Mandelson and Mr Blair had "killed each other" during the height of the New Labour infighting.

He suggested that Mr Brown's supporters were responsible for much of the difficulty.

"The unbridled contempt that some people around Gordon had for Tony and those who worked for him was very destructive," he said.

"They were constantly winding him up - partly because that's what they felt. Partly because that's what they thought he wanted to hear."

Lord Mandelson declined to endorse any of the current Labour leadership candidates.

But he did say he knew former Cabinet colleague Ed Miliband "very well and like him". He also said ex-Schools Secretary Ed Balls had leadership qualities, including "strong views, tough analysis and a forceful personality".

His memoir, titled The Third Man, is being published more than a month ahead of Mr Blair's long-awaited autobiography.

Lord Mandelson's timing is reported to have annoyed the former prime minister, who has held off publication of his own book until Labour was out of power.

peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits