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'End Brown rift' Mandelson urges


Talon

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'End Brown rift' Mandelson urges

EU Commissioner Peter Mandelson has urged Gordon Brown's backers to "draw a line" under a rift between the two men.

Mr Mandelson admitted relations between himself and the chancellor had "not been the easiest" since he backed Tony Blair to be Labour leader in 1994.

But he told BBC's Breakfast With Frost: "It would be a good idea if many of Gordon's supporters didn't take their fight with me onto the European stage."

He added that there was "too much at stake" for the divisions to re-appear.

'Parochial fights'

"There is no benefit at all for us taking these parochial fights and these past divisions onto the European stage," he said.

"So I hope that we can draw a line and we can all move on."

He claimed such divisions did not benefit the government or Britain's national interest.

He believes Mr Brown's supporters have never forgiven him for choosing to support Mr Blair in the Labour leadership election after John Smith's death.

Mr Mandelson blamed the Treasury press office for presenting a recent speech he gave, warning against "gloating" over Britain's strong economic performance, as an attack on Mr Brown.

And he said the Treasury press office had misrepresented the findings of one of its own recent reports on favouritism shown by European governments in awarding contracts.

'Obvious successor'

For its part, the Chancellor's office said on Sunday it would continue to stand up for the British national interest while arguing for reform in Europe.

"As the Chancellor has also made clear, we will never win the case for Britain's place in Europe by ducking the issues of reform or by claiming that standing up for Britain is in some way anti-European," said a Treasury spokesman.

The chancellor was seen by many as the obvious successor until the intervention of Mr Mandelson swayed the election in Mr Blair's favour.

He believes his appointment as EU trade commissioner was not popular with some in the Treasury.

He was nominated by Mr Blair for the job in a surprise move in July this year.

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk_p...ics/4030035.stm

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