Peter Mandelson was introduced into the House on Monday and made his maiden speech today. He moved the Enterprise Act 2002 (Specification of Additional Section 58 Consideration) Order 2008, which may sound dull and technical but which was actually extremely important. It provides the opportunity for the minister to intervene in the TSB/HBOS merger talks on grounds of public interest; the public interest in this case is defined as financial stability. He can set this alongside the competition issues involved. The debate provided the opportunity for peers, many with significant experience in the field, to contribute.
Even before he entered the House, the new minister managed to cause some confusion, not least over his title. The Daily Telegraph, covering his introduction into the House, reported that ‘Baron Mandelson of Foy in the county of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the county of Durham – who will be known simply as Lord Mandelson – wore traditional robes..’. He will be known as Lord Mandelson for one simple reason. He is Lord Mandelson. He is not Lord Mandelson of Foy etc. The Times got it right. The Telegraph did not. A peerage has a territorial designation, but where the surname is chosen as the title and has never been used before, then the surname alone constitutes the title. The title is still associated with a place, even though the place does not form part of the title. Where the surname has been used before, then the name of a place is included in the title. As Peter Mandelson is the first Lord Mandelson then no territorial designation is included in the title. Peter Mandelson is Lord Mandelson, of Foy in the County of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the County of Durham. The comma is all important! What comes before it is the title; what comes after it is not part of the title.