Page last updated at 14:34 GMT, Friday, 3 October 2008 15:34 UK

Third time lucky, says Mandelson

Peter Mandelson says it is 'third time lucky'

Peter Mandelson has reacted to his surprise return to the Cabinet by saying: "Third time lucky".

Mr Mandelson - who was forced to resign two cabinet posts during Tony Blair's time as prime minister - has been made Business Secretary.

Mr Mandelson, who has been EU trade commissioner since 2004, said it was "all hands on deck" to deal with the global financial crisis.

He and Gordon Brown had had their "ups and downs" but got on "very well".

The recall of Mr Mandelson from Brussels has taken Westminster - and apparently the trade commissioner himself - by surprise.

'Exceptionally good job'

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, Mr Mandelson said he had enjoyed working in Brussels but the prime minister had asked him to come back.

Smiling and joking with reporters, he laughed off suggestions he was being made a lord and dismissed claims relations remained frosty between himself and Mr Brown as "exaggerated".

In a sense it's all hands on deck
Peter Mandelson

"I get on with him fine thank you very much, I think he's been doing an exceptionally good job in what are very very challenging conditions for our country," he said.

"Of course we've had our ups and downs but we've also known each other for over 20 years and originally we worked very well together and I'm very proud to have been invited to serve in his government.

"It's not what I was seeking and it's certainly not what I was expecting but nonetheless it's a great opportunity and a great challenge and I look forward to returning to being with my colleagues and my friends again in the Labour government. "

He said everyone had to play their part in dealing with the global financial crisis, adding: "In a sense it's all hands on deck."

He joked "that's quite enough" when the BBC's James Landale suggested he was the "comeback kid".

Brown feud

Mr Mandelson is to be replaced as EU trade commissioner by Baroness Ashton, the leader of the House of Lords.

He served as trade and industry secretary and Northern Ireland secretary in Tony Blair's government but had to resign twice and his critics within the Labour Party say he remains a divisive figure.

He also had a long-standing feud with Mr Brown, after backing Tony Blair for the party leadership in 1994.

The decision to bring him back from Brussels has been warmly welcomed by some senior Labour figures, including former home secretary David Blunkett who described it as a "masterstroke". But others, including Labour backbenchers Ian Gibson, John McDonnell and Peter Kilfoyle have said they are very disappointed.




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