In 1998 he resigned from the cabinet having failed to declare a loan in the register of members; interests, but less than a year later he was back in the cabinet as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. In 2001, he resigned from the Government for a second time following accusations of using his position to influence a passport application.
From 2004 to 2008 he was a European Commissioner. In 2008 he returned to the government and was appointed a life peer.
In October 1998, during his first period in the Cabinet, Mandelson was the centre of media attention when Matthew Parris gay former MP and then Parliamentary sketch writer of The Times) mentioned during a live interview on Newsnight, in the wake of the resignation of Ron Davies, that "Peter Mandelson is certainly gay".
In 2000, Mandelson publicly recognised his relationship with long-time partner Reinaldo Avila da Silva by allowing photographs of them together. Da Silva is Brazilian born but was naturalised as a British citizen around the end of August 2005.
- The Mirror 28 October 1998 "Mandelson is gay, says former MP"
- Martin Smith, The Mail on Sunday 23 April 2000 "The Graduate; So here's to you Mr Mandelson, as the Ulster Secretary and his partner go public..." quote: "It could hardly have been a more public statement of their friendship. Peter Mandelson, 46, and his long-time partner, Reinaldo Avila da Silva, 28, were among the audience at the Gielgud Theatre to watch the West End stage adaptation of the Sixties film classic The Graduate... Reinaldo now shares the Minister's London home in Notting Hill. Recently, neighbours have noticed them shopping together for scented candles and incense and supervising the extensive renovation of the home Mr Mandelson bought for nearly 250,000 pounds last year."
- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-361471/Mandelsons-British-boyfriend.html Nick Craven "Mandelson's British boyfriend" Daily Mail 6 September 2005