Lord Mandelson is set to ‘ruffle some feathers’ with his tell-all autobiography The Third Man: Life at the Heart of New Labour. Scheduled for publication this summer, the book will apparently expose the ‘soap opera’ that played out behind N0 10 during the years of New Labour. Here are five more controversial political memoirs…
Sir Christopher Meyer: Britain’s ambassador in Washington from 1997 to 2003 penned a detailed and damning account of Blairite foreign policy and the special relationship with the US. His 2005 memoir, DC Confidential, sees Meyer mocking Blair’s starry-eyed attitude towards the US. Meyer also claims Blair’s chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, said, ‘we want you to get up the arse of the White House and stay there’. Needless to say, Blair & Co were left fuming by this rather unflattering account and swiftly implemented a policy that made civil servants sign a lifetime confidentiality agreement.
Cherie Blair: Her autobiography, Speaking for Myself, exhibited about as much tact as volumes one, two and three of Katie Price's life story. In one passage, Cherie recounts how her son Leo was conceived after leaving her ‘contraceptive equipment’ at home (she was too embarrassed to take it to Balmoral). Just a little too much information, thank you Cherie. Reviewers slammed the book, and rebuked the former PM's wife for her inappropriate candour and inane vulgarity. Her husband on the other hand had very little say on the matter.
Mark Oaten: Former frontbench home affairs spokesperson Mark Oaten saw his marriage and career take a downhill trajectory after the press exposed his six-month relationship with a rent boy. After stepping, Oaten decided to cash in on the last shred of political significance by writing an autobiography aptly titled Screwing Up. Though interest was temporarily piqued by the idea of reading a warts ‘n’ all confessional, this soon subsided. Critics and the public alike were less than impressed: apparently there just wasn’t enough bang for their buck.
Lord Ashcroft: The phrase ‘the truth does not always set you free’ is one that billionaire businessman and former Conservative party treasurer Michael Ashcroft knows only too well, especially after plunging the Tories into hot water earlier this year with the updated edition of his self-published memoirs, Dirty Politics, Dirty Times. In the latest edition, he was forced to admit what many had long suspected, that he was in fact a non-dom who had managed to save himself a tidy £100m in tax over the past decade.
Sir Jeremy Greenstock: The memoirs of Britain’s former convoy to Iraq and the UN, The Cost of War, are yet to see the light of day thanks to Jack Straw, the former foreign secretary, who effectively stopped publication in its tracks. Presumably, the Labour government feared Greenstock telling home truths on what really took place during the run-up to going to war with Iraq. The Chilcot inquiry was designed to open a new era of openness with regards to our involvement in the Iraq war, yet Greenstock’s memoir is yet to find a home. Danielle Clark