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Peter Mandelson's memoirs ignite Labour party row

12th July 2010

Peter Mandelson's decision to publish his memoirs in the wake of Labour's election defeat and the subsequent leadership campaign to replace Gordon Brown has drawn sharp criticism from former cabinet colleagues and re-opened old wounds.

Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman said while memoirs 'had their place' it was vital that the Labour party focussed on its role in opposition, with former cabinet member Hazel Blears warning that the publication of the book risked damaging party morale at a crucial moment.

With serialisation of The Third Man underway in The Times, Lord Mandelson's book has made its way into the headlines, recounting further details of the longstanding enmity between former prime ministers Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, as well as shedding light on this year's election campaign.

The book, which is scheduled for release on July 15th, has heralded familiar scenes of party infighting, with leadership candidate Andy Burnham taking to the airwaves this week to condemn the style of politics typified by Mandelson which saw 'egotistical factions and their friends in the media meeting on the London dinner party circuit to plot each others' demise'.

Mr Burnham sought to distance himself from the Brown and Blair disciples who make up the other leadership candidates - David Miliband, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls - by turning his anger on the architect of Labour's election campaign.

'Never again can the people's party be run in this way,' he said, echoing criticism from trade unionist Charlie Whelan, who went further still, accusing Mandelson of devoting more time to his book than the campaign for re-election.

Mr Whelan, a former press secretary to Gordon Brown, told the Sunday Telegraph that the proceeds from the book should be donated to the party.

The drip feed of the book into the public arena could see the recriminations continue, with Mandelson scheduled to attend a number of book signings and a Foyles event at the London School of Economics on July 19th, where he will be interviewed by Jon Snow.

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