Brown may offer Mandelson second term in Brussels
The feud between Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson is the stuff of Westminster legend, but according to some reports today the ice may be melting.
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.
Peter Mandelson has previously announced he intends to stay in his post as EU Trade Commissioner until 2009, the end of his five year term.
When asked today by Reuters if he would consider a second term he said:
“My mind is open on that.”
Mr Mandelson has been the UK’s man in Brussels since November 2004 and last year was placed at number three on the PinkNews.co.uk 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.”
What a difference a year makes.
The Times today reports 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.
If he is selected as the UK’s Commissioner for a second term, it would be another remarkable comeback for Mandelson.
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One of the architects of New Labour, he was one of Tony Blair’s closest advisers.
When Labour came to power in 1997, Mr Mandelson 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.
The press then took to reporting on his personal life with his Brazilian boyfriend, Reinaldo Avila da Silva.
His spokesman certainly did not deny either the fact or the substance of the meeting with the Prime Minister, saying only that Mr Mandelson would be considering his career “next year.”