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No 10 dashes Mandelson's hopes of second term

Downing Street appeared to slap down Peter Mandelson over his revived hopes of serving a second term as Britain's EU commissioner.

Mr Mandelson announced he wished to stand down after Mr Brown took over from Tony Blair but there were recent reports that he may have changed his mind and had spoken to the Prime Minister about serving another five-year term.

The UK will have to nominate his replacement in time to take up the post in October next year and Mr Mandelson was expected to meet Mr Brown again on the margins of the spring EU council.

But as the Prime Minister arrived in Brussels, speculation about a warming of attitude in No 10 to Mr Mandelson's future in the job was doused in cold water.

"It's still very early days in terms of deciding who the next British commissioner should be, but Mr Mandelson has already said publicly he does not want to serve a second term," said Mr Brown's spokesman.

Their relationship was described as "very constructive" by Mr Brown's spokesman, but it was not regarded as warm. They are said to have had a long-running feud after Mr Mandelson backed Mr Blair for the Labour leadership in 1994.

Mr Mandelson's spokesman said: "Peter is happy with the discussion he had with Gordon Brown. They know each other's minds."