EU Commissioner Mandelson back to British cabinet

EU Trade Commissioner and former WTO negotiator Peter Mandelson has stepped down and returned to join the cabinet of former nemesis, PM Gordon Brown. He is to be replaced by Baroness Catherine Ashton.


EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson will make a stunning return to the British government on Friday in a reshuffle of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's cabinet, reports said.

Mandelson, a key ally of former prime minister Tony Blair, will return from Brussels to replace Business Secretary John Hutton, the BBC and Sky News reported.

Hutton will move to replace Defence Secretary Des Browne, the reports said.

Mandelson served as trade minister under Blair, but was forced to resign over a home loan scandal, but then won plaudits in the sensitive post of Northern Ireland Secretary.

But his stint there was ended by a row about British passports provided for the ultra-rich Indian Hinduja brothers, and he moved to Brussels in 2004.

He oversaw the marathon negotiations over a new world trade agreement, but the talks have failed to produce a deal.

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