Baron Mandelson under pressure not to take Brussels ‘golden goodbye’
Peter Mandelson took his seat in the House of Lords yesterday.
He becomes one of three openly gay peers, all men, in a House of 741.
The new Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform is under pressure from opponents about a financial package he is eligible for as a former EU Commissioner.
The Conservatives have called on him to reject the generous transitionary payments of £78,000 per year from the EU that he is entitled to for the next three years.
In addition to his salary as a Cabinet minister he will be earning close to the £182,500 he received as a Commissioner.
Lord Mandelson is also eligible for a £15,000 relocation grant.
“Not only did Gordon Brown recall Peter Mandelson to shore up his own position, but it adds insult to injury to know taxpayers will have to pay extra for the privilege,” said Tory spokesman on Europe Mark Francois.
Baron Mandelson of Foy in the county of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the county of Durham took his seat in the Lords yesterday.
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Wearing ermine robes, he was supported by the ex-Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer of Thoroton and Baroness Jay, former Labour Leader of the House of Lords.
He will be known as Lord Mandelson.
Since his appointment as Business Secretary and shock return from Brussels less than two weeks ago, he has been in the headlines constantly.
The press have highlighted his stay on a yacht near Corfu owned by Oleg Deripaska, head of the world’s largest aluminium company, and questioned whether that was compatible with his role as EU Trade Commissioner.
There are also reports that the peer wants security gates erected in the Regents Park street where he lives, to the annoyance of residents.
Today it was announced that a former Downing St business adviser, Geoffrey Norris, will serve as Lord Mandelson’s special adviser.