A slim but distinguished figure was yesterday waiting in the foyer of Deutsche Bank yesterday; none other than Lord Mandelson, former business secretary. Apparently he was kept waiting for at least a quarter of an hour.
This morning I called the peer to make sure there isn’t a Mandy doppelganger wandering around the streets of the City of London.
“Jim…I’m not sure what business it is of yours either way,” he said. “It is not a matter of public interest what I do.”
Others might disagree, given that Mandelson was running large swathes of the country until a couple of weeks ago. Headhunters told me last summer that he was one of the few cabinet ministers who would be sought after by big business.
He told me he had had three meetings yesterday before heading to Singapore: “None of which were interviews.”
I asked whether that ruled out the possibility that he could be discussing work opportunities of some variety. “This is frankly going a bit too far,” he said. “I don’t have a public office, I don’t have to explain to you or describe what I do in my life.”
Sensing some unhappiness, I (sincerely) told the peer that public life was more grey without his presence. “Glad to hear it,” he replied.