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Thursday, September 16, 1999 Published at 15:07 GMT 16:07 UK

UK Politics

Mandelson not expecting swift recall

Peter Mandelson: Resigned to backbenches for now

Former Trade Secretary Peter Mandelson has revealed that he does not expect an early return to the Cabinet.

The MP for Hartlepool said that the decision on when and if he was recalled to high office was down to Prime Minister Tony Blair.

[ image: Tony Blair regards Mandelson as one of his closest allies]
Tony Blair regards Mandelson as one of his closest allies
"I don't expect an early return to government, that will take its course and it will be the prime minister's decision," he said.

"Nobody has led me to expect it. It will happen when, in the prime minister's view, it is ready."

Mr Mandelson resigned from the Cabinet last December following adverse publicity over his £373,000 home loan from the then Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson.

He decided to quit when it emerged he had not declared the loan to the register of members' interests, even after his department began an investigation into Mr Robertson's business affairs.

Mr Robinson also resigned from his post as a result of the loan row.

Job speculation

Political commentators have been on the lookout for sign of a Mandelson comeback ever since.

[ image: Mandelson was reported to want to replace George Robertson at defence]
Mandelson was reported to want to replace George Robertson at defence
Many believe it is only a matter of time before Mr Blair finds a job for a man who is one of his closest political allies.

When Labour lost the European elections in June there was speculation that Mr Mandelson would be put back in charge of the party's campaigns because of his success at the last general election.

Then after George Robertson was appointed as the new secretary general of Nato, Mr Mandelson was widely reported to be angling for his job at the Ministry of Defence.

However, his latest comments - made at the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Labour Party in east London - would appear to suggest he is resigned to remaining on the backbenches for now.

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