PM told to jazz up his image

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Indy Politics

The Prime Minister should show off his lighter side and would ideally be up for more "razzmatazz", Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said today.

His comments came after a stinging attack from former Home Secretary Charles Clarke who called on the premier to quit for "his own dignity".

Lord Mandelson told the Daily Mail: "I wish he would show in public the light side of him that he shares with us in private.

"Ideally, would he be a politician who's up for public relations and razzmatazz alongside his serious side and his devotion to getting policies right? Well, ideally, yes."

He said that Labour needed to "get our campaigning act together better than we have done in the past year".

As the underdog, the party must "bark back and bark loudly", he added.

Lord Mandelson also admitted that "a handful" of MPs would "never be reconciled" with Gordon Brown's leadership.

Yesterday the Prime Minister was forced to brush off Mr Clarke's acerbic comments and speculation that he may quit on health grounds.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I am healthy and I am very fit. I run a lot to keep fit and I will continue to keep fit.

"I keep going. I have got a job to do. I have got work to do. We have got to meet this challenge."

Chancellor Alistair Darling publicly defended his leadership, telling The Spectator: "I've really got no time for people who say 'if only there was someone else, it'd be all right'. That's bollocks, you know."

The war of words began when Mr Clarke told the London Evening Standard that he hoped rumours Mr Brown would quit would come true.

"I don't think Gordon will lead Labour into the next election," he said.

"I think his own dignity ought to look to that kind of solution."