Peter Mandelson: Yachtgate 2.0
I've been following the convoluted story of Heathrow's third runway for several years now, and thought I'd got my head around the layers of corruption. But this weekend's Daily Mail has blown all my expectations out of the water, blending several layers of intrigue and dodgy dealings into an already overblown saga.
Turns out twice-disgraced meddler Peter Mandelson was arranging meetings between BAA's spin doctor Roland Rudd and Government Ministers - including Transport Minister Lord Adonis - at least five times in ten days in the run up to the Heathrow decision.
- October 17 last year: Lord Mandelson holds meeting with Roland Rudd, whose PR firm Finsbury represents airport operator BAA.
- December 4: Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon postpones decision on building third runway at Heathrow until January.
- December 8: Rudd, representing Business for New Europe, and Business Minister Shriti Vadera attend the Global Europe Business Summit.
- December 10: Rudd attends breakfast meeting with Lord Mandelson.
- December 12: Representative of Finsbury meets Transport Minister Lord Adonis.
- December 16: Representative of Finsbury meets Lord Adonis again.
- December 17: Rudd attends a second breakfast meeting with Lord Mandelson.
Now I'm sure that at no point did Mandelson, Rudd or Adonis discuss anything to do with Heathrow's third runway. After all, it's not like BAA offered out of the blue to pay £230 million towards Crossrail - effectively rescuing the project from disaster - just two weeks after Mandleson and Rudd first met...