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The extent of the Business Secretary Lord Mandelson's influence over the Government became clear when it was disclosed that he is a member of 35 Cabinet committees.
These include areas such as health, immigration, trade, Africa, crime, flood planning, and food.
Lord Mandelson, who also holds the title of First Secretary of State, has an input on policy on everything from swine flu to the Olympics, climate change to Afghanistan. He is a member of 80 per cent of the 43 Cabinet committees and subcommittees, sitting on more than either the Prime Minister, the Chancellor or the Foreign Secretary.
Together with his unofficial role as a daily adviser to Gordon Brown and his huge Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, the peer's new roles mean that he is deputy prime minister in all but name.
Eric Pickles, the Conservative Party's chairman, said: "It is quite obvious that Peter Mandelson is the real unelected prime minister pulling the strings from No 10. "He is Gordon Brown's political life support machine, keeping the plotters at bay.
Mr Brown brought Lord Mandelson back into the Cabinet last October, making him a life peer after a period of exile in Brussels as EU trade commissioner. A No 10 spokesman said Lord Mandelson's position in government covered a broad range of issues and his membership on the cabinet committees reflected that. Lord Mandelson sits on the following Cabinet committees:
* National Economic Council
* Better Regulation
* Democratic Renewal Council
* Domestic Policy Council (which he deputy chairs)
* Domestic Affairs
* Borders and Migration
* Communities and Equalities
* Families, Children and Young People
* Health and Wellbeing
* Justice and Crime
* Local Government and the Regions (which he chairs)
* Public Engagement and the Delivery of Services
* Life Chances
* Talent and Enterprise
* Economic Development
* Environment and Energy
* Housing, Planning and Regeneration
* Olympic and Paralympic Games
* Productivity, Skills and Employment
* National Security, International Relations and Development
* Overseas and Defence
* Afghanistan and Pakistan
* Protective Security and Resilience
* Public Services and Public Expenditure
* Public Sector Pay and Pensions
* Pandemic Influenza Planning
* Post Office Network (which he chairs)
* Flood planning
* PM's ad hoc Committee on International Climate Change
* PM's ad hoc International Climate Change Negotiations
After last year's furore in Corfu, the minister is again courting controversy over lavish hospitality.
It was, arguably, one of the most memorable incidents of last year, and certainly one the key players would rather forget: involving Peter Mandelson, George Osborne, a couple of yachts, some of the planet's richest and most influential people – all set against the glistening backdrop of the Aegean.
Obviously unconcerned about the risk of tempting history to repeat itself, the two politicians again came together in 2009, again in Greece – and again surrounded by lavish floating gin palaces to mix with millionaires, billionaires and the world's elite.
Yet, while Mr Osborne noted his attendance at the Bilderberg conference in the MPs' register of interests, his co-player in this Greek drama's second act has been a little coy.
Lord Mandelson, like the shadow Chancellor, spent two nights at the five-star Astir Palace resort on an exclusive pine-covered peninsula outside Athens as a guest of the Bilderberg Foundation – the secretive organisation that has spawned a thousand conspiracy theories.
The Secretary of State for Business used taxpayers' money to fly to Greece because, happily, he had arranged a meeting with his Greek opposite number on the eve of the three-day conference in mid-May.
The taxpayer paid for hotel accommodation on Thursday 14 May, which his department said was justifiable because of the ministerial meeting the next morning. He then stayed Friday and Saturday night at the Astir Palace, paid for by the Bilderberg Foundation, and flew back to Britain on Sunday.
This weekend, for the first time in British history, we have three prime ministers presiding over the country at once.
Harriet Harman, the deputy leader of the Labour party, is in Downing Street as acting prime minister.
The official Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, is on holiday in Scotland.
Meanwhile, the real prime minister, Peter Mandelson, is planning for a General Election and running the country.
For make no mistake: Lord Mandelson is the most powerful man in Britain.
LABOUR plotters hope to get Lord Mandelson back into the House of Commons so that he can fight a party leadership contest, it emerged yesterday.
Allies of Tony Blair believe that a proposed change in the law to allow life peers to quit can be speeded through within months, enabling Lord Mandelson to leave the House of Lords and stand for election as an MP.
That would make it a realistic possibility for him to stand for leader if Mr Brown was ousted or stepped down following a Labour defeat.
Such a move would be the lastest dramatic chapter in Lord Mandelson’s turbulent career. After playing a key role in forming New Labour he became MP for Hartlepool in the North-east in 1992, quit the Cabinet twice and left Parliament in 2004 to become an EU Commissioner.
Mandelson is running Britain...from Corfu...on his BlackBerry
He's still on holiday (at the Rothschilds' luxury villa) but the First Minister's in charge .
Not every minister would have been quite so cavalier about being handed control of the levers of Downing Street power.
Most would have relished every minute of their chance to run the country while Gordon Brown was out of town. But Lord Mandelson appears happy to combine work and pleasure by standing in for the Prime Minister from his Corfu poolside.
Lord Mandelson will not return to Britain until Monday. Aides will keep the sun-loving peer in touch with urgent developments via his BlackBerry and mobile phone – assuming he is not enjoying a dip in the water or an afternoon siesta.
They insisted there would be no need to organise an emergency flight home if a major crisis broke this weekend because Gordon Brown, who is on holiday a mere 420 miles away in his Fife constituency home, would step in.
The fact that Lord Mandelson, who was not even in the government last summer, has taken over while still in Corfu will be seen by admirers and detractors alike as fresh evidence of the huge influence he wields over the Brown administration.
His selection of holiday destination had already raised eyebrows, as his visit to the island last year provoked a political storm over the hospitality that he – and the shadow Chancellor George Osborne – received on board the yacht of the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
A Conservative government would abolish the Financial Services Authority and hand regulation back to the Bank of England, George Osborne has confirmed.
The shadow chancellor told BBC One's Andrew Marr show the system of banking regulation set up by Gordon Brown had "patently failed". He is due to unveil detailed proposals for a new banking regime on Monday.
Labour said Mr Osborne and Tory leader David Cameron "called it wrong" on the banking crisis due to "inexperience".