Peter Mandelson runs Downing Street from corfu


Give it to Mandie; he walks where angels fear to trade. The business secretary is standing in for Gordon Brown for the next week but he is currently enjoying the hospitality of his banking heir friend in the exclusive parish of Kassiopi, which has become known as Kensington-on-Sea because of its attractiveness to Russian oligarchs, bankers and politicians.

Peter Mandelson has chosen to run the country from Nathaniel Rothschild’s opulent villa overlooking the sparkling Ionian Sea in a secluded corner of Corfu.

Last year, Mandelson’s stay in the Rothschild’s cream-turreted Greek holiday home descended into controversy when he was entertained on a yacht by Oleg Deripaska, the Russian aluminium billionaire, and dined on stuffed sardines with the shadow chancellor, George Osborne, at the nearby Agni taverna.

As seats of power go, it is pretty spectacular. “It looks like he’s just going to stay on the Rothschild estate this time,” said Nathan Pascoe, who owns Agni taverna. “There are about eight photographers and reporters camped out here waiting for him to come to dinner, but they’re not going to get much more than a good suntan.”