Gordon Brown tonight sounded the death knell for Peter Mandelson’s European career as he ruled out the prospect of a second term for the EU trade commissioner.
In a devastating blow to the ambitions of his former New Labour rival, the prime minister said that Mandelson had signalled that he had no intention of standing for a second term when his current one comes to an end in October next year.
“Peter Mandelson has said he doesn’t want to become the next commissioner,” Brown said, “that he wants to do only one term. But Peter Mandelson has done a great job as commissioner. He is leading the European negotiations to get a trade agreement and I will be talking to him very soon about how we can move that forward.
“I think it’s important to say that Peter Mandelson has done a great job as commissioner and, of course, it’s his wish to do something else.”
Brown’s intervention came just hours after Mandelson said he was happy with the discussion he had had with the prime minister on the subject of a second term and that the two knew “each other’s mind”.
Something fishy here, somewhere.