Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Ninth Report


Letter to the Rt Hon Peter Mandelson MP from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards


Following your discussion with Roger Willoughby last week, I am now able to give you a substantive reply to your letter of 22 December, though I would prefer to reserve my detailed position in case I have to investigate a complaint about your loan from Mr Robinson.

The definition of gifts, hospitality and other benefits which are registrable under category 5 of the Rules for Registration does include loan concessions. I accept that there is considerable doubt about the application of the Rules for Registration to transactions between Members, and I understand that this was why you did not register the loan at the time.

I think however that it is necessary to bear in mind the principal purpose of the Register, which is "to provide information of any pecuniary interest or other material benefit which a Member receives which might reasonably be thought by others to influence his or her actions, speeches or votes in Parliament, or actions taken in his or her capacity as a Member of Parliament", and the general principle stated in the Rules that "If there is any doubt (a benefit) should be registered". My advice is that it would therefore be your wisest course to register the loan now. If you could supply the Registrar with the necessary form of words before the deadline of 31 January, he will ensure that your entry is included in the annual published Register which will appear next month.

Even though my term of office does not officially begin until 16 February, I will be perfectly happy to discuss this or any other matter with you on the telephone or by meeting if this would be helpful.

21 January 1999

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