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Brown nominates Indian-origin confidant as minister

world Updated: Oct 05, 2008 19:57 IST

Two days after creating ripples by inducting Blairites into his cabinet, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Friday appointed a loyalist and an Indian-origin ex-banker Shriti Vadera as minister.

A staunch Brownite and an ex-UBS banker, Baroness Vadera will be designated as Minister for Economic Competitiveness and Small Business, a spokeswoman of 10, Downing Street said.

Vadera, who advised him closely on the recent rescue packages to bail out failing British banks, had worked under him when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer and is considered very close to him.

The promotion of Vadera, who was earlier the parliamentary under-secretary of state for business, enterprise and regulatory reform, is seen as offering him an alternative voice on economic policy to the Treasury, sources said.

The Prime Minister has also launched a new National Economic Council (NEC) that would advise on measures to steer the economy through the current global crisis.

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Tony Blair's most trusted ally Peter Mandelson, who has been appointed as the Business Secretary, told the Observer that he was "joined at the hip" to Brown, who would lead Labour into the next election.

Mandelson insisted that he and Brown had "never entirely lost our friendship" and he had been at times "a bit combative, probably a bit prickly" but suggested the past should be left behind.

Hinged between a financial crisis and a dip in his popularity index, Brown brought back long-serving Republicans and members of Tony Blair camp into his cabinet on Friday.