May 9th 1996, on Peter Mandelson’s row with Gordon Brown over political strategy:
“They started talking very loudly at each other, just a few decibels short of shouting. TB, who for once was sitting in the chair by the TV…said for heaven’s sake keep this under control. Peter then stood up, said no, I won’t, I’m not taking this any of this crap any longer, and stormed out. TB just shook his head, while GB stared at his papers then started scribbling.”
Comment: in case there were any doubters left in Britain, the diaries make crystal clear the appalling relationship between two of the godfathers of New Labour – Brown and Mandelson. The rift started after Mandelson backed Blair rather than Brown for leadership in 1994, and Campbell tells of Blair saying the situation was "impossible." But far from time healing wounds, the two proud lions of Mandelson and Brown have refused to make it up, and to this day the row rumbles on. It is no surprise that Mandelson has made clear that he doesn’t want a second term as European Commissioner – there is no way Brown would have reappointed him.
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.