Mandelson, Peter

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MANDELSON, PETER (1953– ), British politician. One of the best-known and most controversial of recent British politicians, Peter Mandelson was the son of a Jewish father; his mother was the daughter of Herbert Morrison (Baron Morrison of Lambeth), Britain's deputy prime minister and then foreign secretary under Clement Attlee from 1945 to 1951. Mandelson was educated at Oxford and worked as a television producer; he was elected to Parliament in 1992, holding his seat until he resigned in 2004. "Mandy," as he is widely known, became campaign manager (and chief "spin doctor") of Tony Blair, the center-left politician who became leader of the Labour Party in 1994 and was elected prime minister with a huge majority in 1997. Some within the Labour Party resented Mandelson's enormous influence. From 1997 he served as Blair's minister without portfolio, responsible for building London's Millenium Dome for 2000, and then entered the cabinet in 1998 as secretary of state for trade and industry. Later in the same year, he was forced to resign over an allegedly improper loan he had received. He returned to the cabinet in 1999 as secretary of state for Northern Ireland, but in 2001 was again forced to resign over an alleged impropriety regarding a businessman seeking British citizenship. In 2004 Blair appointed Mandelson Britain's European commissioner responsible for trade.

[William D. Rubinstein (2nd ed.)]