Baroness Ashton has been forced to deny rumours that she is poised to quit following widespread criticism of her performance as the EU's foreign affairs supremo.
Brussels sources said the Labour peer, appointed to the new £328,000-a-year job six months ago, was on the verge of resignation after opponents claimed she was not up to the job.
Some suggest Lord Mandelson, who long harboured ambitions for the job himself, has been spearheading a campaign to undermine her.
Surely the UK Business Secretary wouldn't behave so shabbily against one of his own? On the other hand, we all know that he enjoys forward planning. Where better than the arms of the EU to spend his senior years and accrue another few million to add to his already substantial pension pot.