Of course Mandelson tried to get Nick Robinson sacked

Andy McSmith

There was a time when Peter Mandelson, then a Labour MP and intermittent Cabinet minister, was also a director of the company which used to own The Independent and Independent on Sunday. One day, about 10 years ago, he marched up to the company’s Chief Executive, Ivan Fallon, because he objected to the hiring of a journalist he considered to be politically suspect  - namely me.

The result was a meeting in the boardroom involving the Chief Executive, the editors of both titles, Mandelson and me. He complained that I was writing things that caused him “embarrassment” and got very angry when I asked: “Why shouldn’t I cause you embarrassment?” He thought that was a “disgraceful” thing to say. The upshot was that Mandelson got nothing: no apology, no retraction, no change in editorial policy. He resigned from the board some weeks later, citing the Independent’s opposition to the Iraq war.

All this came back to me during Nick Robinson’s programme ‘Battle for the Airwaves’, on Radio 4 this lunchtime, when Robinson put it to Lord Mandelson that he had once tried to get him fired, to which the old spin master replied: “I’m not sure  whether I actually lifted the phone to try and get you fired…if I had done so, I would have been stupid to do so.”

I would be prepared to bet any sum you name that he did try to get Robinson sacked; and, point 2, I agree – it was stupid.

  • greggf

    “Independent’s opposition to the Iraq war.”

    I’ve always admired the Independent for this, and earlier for its opposition to the war in Kosovo and Serbia.

  • creggancowboy

    You must be soooo glad The Indy is now owned by Lebedev. He only fires & bans when Jody McIntyre tells the truth about UK policing! Hey about time for more spooge on Belarus?

  • Kippers

    There is also the question of the journalists that Mandelson managed to get jobs on the Independent in about 1995.

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