Charlie Whelan says . . .

Don't believe it - "Mandelson stokes up euro row"

There is one political story that no one is interested in at the moment, and that's the euro. So when Peter Mandelson decides to write an article for the Times challenging the Chancellor's five economic tests, the question has to be why? The Times dutifully reported the story as Mandelson stoking up the row over the euro, but anyone with half a political brain knows that it's nothing to do with the euro.

The doubly disgraced ex-minister has hardly been off our TV screens over the past few weeks as he's been given the task by Tony Blair of explaining to a sceptical nation why we may have to go to war without a UN mandate. He is now confident enough to go back to what he does best, and that's trying to destabilise the relationship between Blair and Brown.

You would have thought that Blair would have more sense than to rely on Mandelson, who has proved to be so unreliable in the past. The word from No 10 is that Mandelson stepped into the Cheriegate affair after Alastair Campbell became exasperated with Cherie's failure to tell the whole truth. Mandelson told anyone who would listen that he wrote Cherie's tearful apology to the nation. He didn't care that no one thought there was an ounce of sincerity in her words; it was enough for him that people knew he was back in the fold.

My spies tell me that Blair may need all the help he can get because although he may have persuaded some in the civil service that it was OK for his wife to spend half a million quid from his half-blind trust, not everyone agrees.

Perhaps the Prime Minister wants someone who is personally familiar with financial scandals advising him.

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