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The all-powerful First Secretary of State has taken over responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the Whitehall machine from Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman, who began her holiday yesterday. But he will not let the small matter of deputising for Mr Brown prevent him from enjoying the 30C temperatures on the Greek holiday island for the next two days.
The result is that the heart of the British government has temporarily shifted this weekend 1,200 miles out of London to a villa with spectacular views of the Ionian Sea.
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.
But officials drew up a rota of Cabinet ministers to take charge throughout August to enable their workaholic boss to take a break.
... Lord Mandelson flew out to Corfu last Monday. One fellow passenger reported that he was engrossed with his BlackBerry until the moment of take-off. He will be staying once again at the luxury villa owned by the Rothschild banking dynasty.
Last year his old friend Nat Rothschild became embroiled in the "yachtgate" controversy after arranging for him and Mr Osborne to meet Mr Deripaska.
According to a report in The Mail on Sunday, Lord Mandelson arrived in Russia with Nat Rothschild, an adviser to Mr Deripaska, in the Russian businessman's private jet.
A Brussels pressure group has also accused Lord Mandelson of being too close to the Europe-wide lobby group BusinessEurope. The Corporate Europe Observatory has written to the Commission's president, Jose Manuel Barroso, claiming Lord Mandelson gave the group "privileged access" during his term as EU trade commissioner.
But one of Lord Mandelson's key European aides dismissed the claims as "ludicrous" last night. "Saying that Lord Mandelson should not talk to BusinessEurope is like saying as Business Secretary, he should not speak to the CBI," the source said.
But the Conservatives also faced embarrassing questions about party funding, after it emerged the party was handed a loan of more than £1m by a company, owned by Lady Victoria de Rothschild, that was set up purely for the purpose of protecting Lady Rothschild's anonymity.