You have two choices. You either accept the story as true, or you ask a few questions. Let's go down the latter route.
1. Why would Mandelson first tout himself for the job and then decide that he didn't want it after all?
2. Why would Mandelson let the previous version of the truth run in the papers for so long?
3. If Brown had given him his blessing, why would he then not want to go back to Brussels?
4. Who has got most to gain by this version of the story being released, and released now?
The answer to (4) might be Gordon Brown. It makes him look statesmanlike and appear able to cope without the services of the man who is in reality the Deputy Prime Minister. And yet the fact that the story is written by James Macintyre will lead people to think that it came directly from Peter Mandelson - someone Macintyre is known to be close to.
I am not well enough connected in these circles to differentiate truth from fiction in this matter, but I wonder if Steve Richards, Andrew Rawnsley et al will come to question this version of events.
For my part I can believe that Mandelson's name was indeed put forward ... but the embarrassing truth for him was that he was vetoed by the French, who couldn't abide him when he was previously in Brussels.
UPDATE: James Macintyre has been in touch to say that there's no conspiracy here. "According to sources, Mandelson was in a dilemma. Simple as that". Fairy nuff. Except with Mandelson we have all come to learn that things are never quite as simple as they seem!