Left Foot Forward is proud to present an exclusive extract from the upcoming enhanced ebook version of Peter Mandleson’s “The Third Man”.
Left Foot Forward presents exclusive extracts from the upcoming enhanced ebook version of Peter Mandleson’s “The Third Man” – in it, we see the initial proposals for the cabinet shake-up following the Hutton report, and Mandleson’s original notes on the briefings
In the extracts, we learn more of the proposed restructuring of Number 10 under Tony Blair, including plans for a new “Political Strategy Group” to meet each Wednesday, in addition to the regular Monday afternoon Political Strategy Team meeting.
The purpose of the Group was:
“To agree and oversee the implementation of political and communication strategy for the short and medium term.”
The extracts also reveal Mandelson’s outlining of new responsibilites, tasks and issues for the Chief of Staff, including to:
• Bring coherence at a working level across all No10 operations;
• Take strategic responsibility for the Prime Minister’s diary;
• Establish cross-No10 teams to handle a rolling programme of the most important 5-10 current or pending issues and then ensure that regular progress chasing meetings take place;
• Chair regular meeting with Chancellor’s key advisers, bringing together policy, press and political teams; and
• Establish a light-touch performance management regime for No10 SPADs to give them proper objectives and feedback.
On reshuffles, there was a need to adopt a “much more professional approach” in future, and that they “should start identifying now”:
• The 10-15 most promising younger “Blairite” MPs who could join the Government in the next reshuffle; and
• The 10-15 existing Ministers who want to retire.
• For each potential retiree we need a “plan” for softening them up well in advance and for how they might best be deployed post-reshuffle; and
• Cabinet friends of those being targeted should be deployed to start preparing the way.
The “Initial List of Chief of Staff Issues” might include:
– Rebuilding trust;
– Iraq’s WMD;
– Top up fees;
– Schools funding;
– Next reshuffle planning;
– Conference speech;
– Euro – PBR strategy;
– Queen’s Speech;
– Asylum numbers
With proposals for reforming the “No10 Working Style” including:
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• All internal meetings to be formal, with agendas and records taken of agreed action points;
• Meetings involving the Prime Minister should take place in the Cabinet Room or Study, except informal tete a tetes or bilaterals;
• Prime Minister to have proper briefing meetings before each key meeting;
• Prime Minister to go through outstanding box papers each day, with time set aside in the diary to allow this;
• All Prime Minsiter phone calls and meetings with Ministers to be recorded with conclusions disseminated to all those with a need to know; and
• More gaps in the diary to allow better time-keeping and fewer meetings cancelled at short notice, particularly involving Cabinet colleagues.