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Supreme spin-doctor Peter Mandelson had been in his job for a mere week when Siemens said its semi fab in the North East would shut. (Story: UK government in frame after fab closure) Now Siemens has one week to pay back £50 million to UK taxpayers as battles rage between trade union MSF, Siemens and the Labour Party. Peter Mandelson, after his spectacular fall from grace pre-Christmas, has spent more time with his constituents. He is the member of parliament for Hartlepool, very close to the fab. His ex-boss, UK prime minister Tony Blair, has also a constituency in the former mining area. The pressure is now on for Blair and Mandelson to sew up the buy out. As we reported here soon after the Siemens debacle unfolded, there was a plan for a Chinese consortium to take over the mothballed fab. (Story: Chinese consortium interested in UK DRAM fab) Now, according to national newspaper the Guardian, the process is very near to solution. The paper said this morning that MSF union members had been asked to go back to the fab soon, and pay back their redundancy payments. Many are unwilling to do so. And in a separate story on its front page, the Guardian reported that Peter Mandelson was tipped by Blair to advise South African president Nelson Mandela on elections pending in the country. We wonder what constituents think about all this. The Register today placed a number of separate calls to both MSF and Siemens, but there was no reply at press time. ®

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