January 24th, 2001 on Peter Mandelson’s second resignation, over the Hinduja passports-for-favours affair:
“I went back up and TB looked absolutely wretched. Peter looked becalmed. TB said he had made clear to PM he had to go and that though he wasn’t sure, over time he would see why it had been necessary. TB seemed much more emotional about the whole thing than Peter….Peter was far less emotional than first time, much more matter of fact. I said he was a good thing, and he didn’t deserve this happening to him again.”
Comment: Reports at the time insisted that it was Campbell who in effect forced Mandelson’s on the spot resignation, and that they had a blazing row over it. Campbell vociferously denies this, and says that he and Mandelson remained on good terms throughout.
Anthony Browne, director of the think-tank Policy Exchange and prior to that the chief political correspondent of The Times, is plucking out the most interesting passages from the just published Alastair Campbell diaries for Coffee House. To read his first entry, click here.