A breathless shop assistant, Mr Mandelson, told the Mail how four smartly dressed men walked into the exclusive Westminster office of the Department for Trade and Industry, held a gun to the head of chief salesman Stephen Byers, and ordered him to hand over Longbridge "or your Birmingham support gets it". "What else could he do ?" said Mr Mandelson.
No prosecutions have followed, or are likely to. "Looks like they got clean away", said Mr Mandelson, who has just returned from recuperating in Corfu and is reported to be "intensely relaxed" following the incident.