PM says Mandelson will only serve one term

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The Prime Minister has quashed speculation that he may re-appoint former Labour Cabinet minister Peter Mandelson as a European Commissioner.

Arriving at a European summit last night, Gordon Brown told reporters that Mr Mandelson would only serve one term.

“Peter Mandelson said he doesn’t want to become the next commissioner,” he said.

“I think it is important to say that Peter Mandelson has done a great job as commissioner and, of course, it is his wish to do something else.”

Mr Mandelson has been the UK’s appointee in Brussels since November 2004 and last year was placed at number three on the list of the top 50 most important LGBT people in British politics.

In March 2007, amid rumours that Gordon Brown would remove him when he took over as Prime Minister, Mr Mandelson was defiantly telling the BBC:

“I don’t know whether this is going to come as a disappointment to him, but he can’t actually fire me.

“So like it or not, I’m afraid he will have to accept me as Commissioner until November 2009.

“But I will not be seeking a nomination for a further term after that time.”

However, earlier this week there was widespread speculation that the long-running feud between Mandelson and Brown was at an end and that the Prime Minister was going to offer his friend another five years in Brussels.

The Times reported that an “olive branch” has been extended by the PM, who not only met Mr Mandelson privately but also raised the possibility of another five-year term for his former foe.

The feud between Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson is the stuff of Westminster legend.

Mr Mandelson backed Mr Blair over his close friend Mr Brown for the leadership of the Labour party in 1994.

The Prime Minister is said to have nurtured a grudge against Mr Mandelson ever since.

One of the architects of New Labour, Mr Mandelson was one of Tony Blair’s closest advisers and when Labour came to power in 1997, he was rewarded with the job of “co-ordinating the government,” in which he antagonised many more senior figures.

Hated by many in his own party and dubbed the “Prince of Darkness,” he was appointed to the Cabinet twice, but had to resign both times.

He was famously outed on national television by gay journalist Matthew Parris.