A hefty one-two punch in the continuing "Have Gordon and Peter fallen out?" story, this morning. The Telegraph has quotes suggesting that Mandelson is "upset" and feels "disposed of" by Brown. And Sue Cameron of the FT details a specific rift between the pair, ending with the observation: "I hear Lord M is not happy, telling friends that he does not have the influence he was promised." For his part, Mandelson has since dismissed the reports as "complete tosh".
Problem is, for Downing Street, the truth of the stories is almost immaterial. After a relatively stable few months, Brown is once again mired in rumour and speculation concerning his own leadership. Indeed, the Telegraph reports a potential Miliband challenge on the back of its Mandelson story. ‘Tis all far from ideal for Labour, with the election campaign only a few months away.Tags: David Miliband, Downing Street, Gordon Brown, Government, Labour, Labour leadership, Peter Mandelson, UK politics