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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 November, 2003, 11:14 GMT
Mandelson denies Euro job offer
Peter Mandelson
Peter Mandelson said he was happy with his current job
Peter Mandelson has denied being offered the job of European Commissioner by the prime minister.

The Hartlepool MP and former Cabinet minister told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "If it were true... I would have been informed of it. I haven't."

He said rumours he would replace Neil Kinnock in Brussels when he stepped down first surfaced three weeks ago, but said: "I haven't been asked".

He also dismissed any tension between Tony Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown.

Reports in Saturday's Guardian suggested the job offer had been made some months ago, and had contributed to the widely-reported tension between Mr Blair and Mr Brown.

Mr Mandelson said: "I hadn't been asked about doing this job then. I haven't been asked since.

"So I think it is unlikely anyone is experiencing tension about something that hasn't happened."

'Far fetched'

He added: "I am very happy with the job I have got, thank you, representing my constituents in Hartlepool."

Mr Mandelson said that reports of tension between Mr Blair and Mr Brown were "pretty far-fetched".

They had in fact been working closely together on a massive consultation exercise on future Labour policy, he said.

That was due to be launched in a few weeks time, and form a basis for the party's general election manifesto.

Apparent differences between the two powerful New Labour figures surfaced this week with the chancellor's confirmation that he had been turned down by the prime minister for a place on Labour's ruling National Executive Committee.

Asked if he was concerned about strains at the top of the Labour project, Mr Mandelson said: "If it were true it would be worrying, but I don't believe it is.

"They are united and have been united throughout in securing what this government wants to do for Britain, and they are going to continue to do so...

"They are doing it well and they shouldn't allow themselves to be distracted by what passes for journalism in the Westminster village."

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