The Campbell Diaries, Part 2: 'Peter'
FEBRUARY 3, 2001: Election strategy meeting at Millbank with Gordon.
He's such a fucking nutter He has some great ideas. Best of luck to him.
Get back to the office and as I walk towards my desk, Peter Mandelson jumps out of the stationery cupboard and starts hitting me with a tennis racket. I manage to pin him against the wall and he goes limp. I let go, he dusts himself down, nods and leaves the room without a word. I shall have to be more careful from now on.
MARCH 22, 2001: We've had to cancel the election because of unwell cows. Tony wants to visit some farmers and he doesn't want to wear a tie. I tell him if he doesn't wear a tie the Daily Mail will accuse him of being a Satanist and if he does wear a tie they'll compare him to Churchill. As usual he backs down and makes me a cup of coffee.
Someone passes me a note saying I'm needed in the Cabinet room. I go in, but there's no-one there. Next thing I know the door closes behind me. I spin round and there's Mandelson coming at me with a hockey stick and screaming like a banshee. I duck just in time, but he chases me round the room until I'm able to pick up a chair. We go at it hammer and tongs for 20 minutes until his PA interrupts with a call from the chairman of Argos.
JUNE 7, 2001: Election over. It was even tougher than '97 and I'm physically and emotionally shattered. I get home at 4am and slump down on the sofa. I switch on Sky News, desperate for updates, but I can't take it any more. I put my face in my hands and begin to sob gently.
But not for long as Mandelson jumps up from behind the sofa and whacks me on the back of the head with a John Lewis frying pan. I grab him by the nostrils but he bites my left arm and we crash through the coffee table.
I run into the hall searching for a weapon. I grab an umbrella and manage to get it round his throat but he flips me over and I go summersaulting through the stained glass door and land on the front step. Mandelson leaps through and lands on top of me and we chase each other up and down the road for half an hour. Eventually he runs out of puff and offers to make cheese toasties.