Left Watch

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Mandelson "takes full control of Labour's election team"

Mandelson happy That's according to today's Sunday Telegraph, which reports that the Business Secretary "will be the party's chief election strategist as well as chairing "the majority" of Labour's news conferences".

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander remains Labour;s election co-ordinator, whatever that entails, assisted by Business minister and former Blair aide Pat McFadden.

In what the paper calls a "significant coup" for the Blairites, Alastair Campbell will reportedly have a formal role offering strategic advice, whilst the man who was Tony Blair's personal pollster, Lord Gould, will be in charge of polling.

Meanwhile, arch-Brownite and political director of the Unite trade union, Charlie Whelan "has been barred from entering Labour headquarters during the campaign", according to the Sunday Times.

Harriet Harman will be touring seats around the country, as John Prescott did when he was deputy leader. She had apparently wanted to chair the party's election press conferences - although her national tour will mean that she is able to meet scores of party members and press the flesh in advance of that likely leadership election...

Jonathan Isaby