Blair visit may signal Mandelson comeback

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Indy Politics

Tony Blair will underline his continuing closeness to Peter Mandelson today. The Prime Minister, on his first public engagement since the summer break, will join the former Northern Ireland secretary in opening a learning centre in Hartlepool, triggering speculation that Mr Mandelson is likely to make a political comeback.

Labour MPs are sure to see the event as a highly significant signal that the former minister still retains Mr Blair's confidence despite his two high-profile resignations from the Government.

Downing Street insiders stress that Mr Mandelson has little prospect of a return to the Cabinet and he himself has ruled out any such move. But many senior Labour figures believe he will be drafted in for a key role in a "yes" campaign for the euro if Mr Blair calls a referendum on the single currency this Parliament.