Mandelson says he and prime minister wil be joined at hip

Peter Mandelson has said he will be “joined at the hip” to the prime minister from now on.

The new business secretary being interviewed by the Observer newspaper said that although he and Gordon Brown had in the past had a difficult relationship, they had never completely neglected their friendship.

Mr Mandelson told the Observer: “Yes, we have history. Of course, there have been difficulties in our relationship.

“But we have never entirely lost our friendship. That may be surprising to you. But even in some of the darker moments, we were still able to talk very frankly to each other. And very honestly.”

He admitted he had been unnecessarily “prickly” in the past, and added: “What’s important is what things are like now, and will be in the future. And from here on in, we’re joined at the hip.”.

Mr Brown is due to confirm further ministerial changes later, however according to the Mail on Sunday Chris Bryant will be given the post of deputy to leader of the commons Harriet Harman. The paper also says that Barbara Follett is to become culture minister, replacing Margaret Hodge, who was reported to be seeking compassionate leave to look after her ill husband.

Confirmed appointments include Shahid Malik who has become a justice minister, while Vernon Coaker is expected to be promoted to police minister

Sadiq Khan has a new job in the communities and local government department, but Parmjit Dhanda is believed to have lost his job there.

Phil Woolas has been named as the new immigration minister, taking over from Liam Byrne.

Meanwhile a message published on transport minister Tom Harris’s website said the prime minister sacked him in a phone call to his Glasgow home on Friday evening

In a move believed to be aimed at trying to pacify Labour’s left wing he has offered MP Jon Trickett the role of his parliamentary private secretary.

There have also been reports that the prominent left-winger John Cruddas, MP for Dagenham, turned down a ministerial role after a conversation with the prime minister revealed they could not agree over policy.