What Nick told Gordon (according to Peter) when asking him to quit: “Please understand I have no personal animosity whatsoever.”

The first of the post-New Labour memoirs, Lord (Peter) Mandelson’s The Third Man, begins its serialisation in The Times today.

Those who pay for the paper, in print or online, will have the joy of relishing its every detail. If like me you’re reliant on the Press Association’s fillet, it seems the big splash is what we knew already: that Nick Clegg told Gordon Brown he would have no option but to resign if there were to be any chance of Labour and the Liberal Democrats cutting a deal.

Unlike every other Labour MP except James Purnell, however, Nick did at least have the courage to deliver an ultimatum to Mr Brown’s face, reportedly telling him:

Please understand I have no personal animosity whatsoever. But it is not possible to secure the legitimacy of a coalition and win a referendum unless you move on in a dignified way.”

Lord Mandelson was, it seems, one of only two other witnesses to the meeting, which in characteristic far-fetchedly true fashion involved the then Prime Minister and Business Secretary using a secret tunnel which connects Number 10 and the Defence ministry. We’re told Mr Brown

avoided giving a straight response to Mr Clegg’s ultimatum during the meeting, at which Danny Alexander – now the Chief Secretary to the Treasury – was also present. It was not until the following day, after conversations with other Lib Dems and his predecessor Mr Blair, that Mr Brown resolved to resign, according to Lord Mandelson.

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23 Comments

  • Clegg’s an arrogant get. Like I said, anointing David Miliband was not his prerogative.

  • Andrew Suffield 12th Jul '10 - 2:15pm

    Nice to see he was negotiating in good faith. Propping up Brown was never a viable option.

  • Dave Spart thinks Clegg is an “arrogant get”. And we’re all supposed to feel wounded.

    It is surely a measure of Brown’s vanity that he was willing to sacrifice the possibility of Labour remaining in power rather than resign as Leader.

  • david thorpe 12th Jul '10 - 2:23pm

    nick was right how could we run an election campiagn on the basis of doing things differently and achieiving change and yet vote for the same pm again

  • Tony,

    Gordon Brown should have indicated on the Friday morning that he would stand aside in order to facilitate the creation of a coalition between Labour and the Liberal Democrats with a Prime Minister acceptable both to his putative coalition partners and his own party. A leader who jostles and humiliates his own staff should not be acceptable to anyone.

  • No he shouldn’t. It wasn’t his place to bend over backwards for you, and Clegg never intended to go into coalition with Labour anyway- http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2010/05/lib-dems-labour-clegg-tories

    Tories and the Libs forever, or as long as the Tories need you anyway. I certainly don’t want you.

  • Mike – you get more angry every time I read your comments – were you this angry over the last 13 years of failed Labour – bankrupting the country???

  • Paul McKeown 12th Jul '10 - 4:06pm

    This is all the Labour party’s own fault.

    If Labour politicians had ditched their “we don’t get rid of our leader’s” shtick, and actually deposed Gordon Brown a year or more ago, or indeed held internal elections for a new leader to follow Tony Blair standing down, it is quite possible that they might still be in power. Alistair Darling would probably have been a reasonably popular Prime Minister: his credibility certainly was not damaged with his battles with Brown. David Miliband, however, will always suffer, now, from the taint of indecision and weakness.

  • @Greenfield: “Bankrupting the country”- listen to yourselves. It was a market failure in a globalized world. Labour had been forced by circumstance to back away from the anti-big finance policies that would have helped.

    Don’t kid yourselves that we’ve been living under thirteen years of tyranny and squalor, especially compared to the years previous and the years that are to come. And don’t allow your own narrative to blind you to the vile and unnecessary things your people in government are choosing to inflict from here on out.

    New Labour was a failed project but it was in good faith. It is the result of Labour people accepting defeat and looking for compromise- and they did, more than they should have. It doesn’t change the fact that your party is acting in bad faith, lying to the electorate before the election and making dishonesty its mode of operation. It’s a black comedy of a government and when these cuts and privatizations and extensions of antiunion laws bite you will find all of your criticisms of the New Labour project thrown back in your face tenfold and you will deserve it.

    This site is impossible to take seriously. A few days ago a contributor wrote about how he was shocked at the Labour leadership candidates’ “bilious and unbridled hatred”, calling the party “politically sociopathic” and pouring hatred from “every Labour orifice.” Over three hundred comments and no one has been able to provide an example of this bilious and unbridled hatred from the leadership candidates. You’re just building a narrative, and a completely dishonest one.

  • Mike wrote,

    “This site is impossible to take seriously.”

    Well, you know what to do!

  • Mike and Tony,

    Are you one and the same person – Dave Spart 1 and Dave Spart 2?

  • @Greenfield Bankrupting the country? As long time Labour voter I am disappointed with Labour and their arrogance over the past few years and things Labour have failed to do and indeed have done but fairness (?) decrees you cannot get away from the fact they have some good things whilst in power. Fair enough they have appeared to mismanage the finances but do remember we were faced with bailing out the Bankers, who incidentally are paying themselves even bigger remuneration packages so far this years than last. (According to Andrew Neil this has risen from 6bn to 6.8bn so far this year).
    I thought Lib DEms were supposed to be fair minded people – why are you not angry with the Bankers and what their greed has done to the country. Seems some are justt following the media and Tory Govts line of blame everything at Labour’s door. Meanwhile who is seriously tackling the Bankers? Why are the LibDems not angry about the Bankers and skirting the issue?-This Govt with a measly £2bn levy is a joke. Peanuts to the banks. It seems the LibDems with the prospect of power are after all no different to the other Parties. Clegg needs to put more pressure on teh Tories to address this issue! At least the EU is taking it more seriously – interesting though that members of the Bilderberg Group (I believe your own Paddy Ashdown is one of the world’s privileged elite members) are supposedly trying to address this issue though some of their members are the very people who CAUSED the world to almost go into financial meltdown. Why are the LibDems not angry about this? I am somebody who has found many LibDem policies appealing however am very concerned why the Bankers are not being tackled – is it fear ?

  • I certainly won’t be staying longer than it takes to get a retraction or a justification from Nick Perry for his slander of the leadership contenders. There is nothing of value here, everything is contrived for self-justification and applause for the duplicitous way that Clegg and Cable and co worded their pre-election attacks so as to leave themselves technically open to push through what they attacked.

  • >There is nothing of value here, everything is contrived for self-justification and applause

    Can I ask what the Labour-supporting posters here are expecting from a Lib Dem site? (Herds of wildebeest, etc…?)
    If you attack us, of course we’ll close ranks and defend our leaders, even if we don’t agree with everything they do/say.

    I’m also not sure why it’s ok for Labour supporters to call our leaders duplicitous but not ok for us to have a dim view of their former or future leadership???

    >anointing David Miliband was not his prerogative.

    Refusing to form a coalition with Brown was.

  • @Cassie: You’re allowed to disagree with the Labour leadership candidates. Accusing them of “bilious and unbridled hatred” and so on requires justification. If the leadership candidates have reacted to the Lib Dem continued foray into the reactionary with bilious and unbridled hatred it should be easy to find an example of it. Otherwise all you’re doing is building an untrue narrative in order to justify what you should know you shouldn’t be doing.

  • Was Clegg then the only person in the country not to have any ‘personal animosity ‘ towards Gordon Brown?

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