The inquiry into the Hinduja passport application and the role of
Peter Mandelson in it has broken fresh ground in spin and
But it would be unfair to identify coverage of the report simply as the
work of a terminal plotter.
Certainly, last Sunday's papers trumpeting Mandelson's innocence
probably owed much to Hammond granting everyone in his report a draft of
passages concerning them. But if Mandelson is working hard on his
reputation, former friends are working themselves into the ground.
Downing Street's handling of the report's release is telling. It was
delayed to avoid scuppering budget coverage. To mask this, it was
suggested in the media that Mandelson had himself delayed publication by
seeking another meeting with Hammond. As several of the next day's
papers clarified, this was untrue. Mandelson is now more spinned against