Further letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards from the Rt Hon John Redwood MP|
The question at issue over Peter Mandelson's loan
is whether the loan was a soft one or not. As I think you have
said, if an MP receives a loan which is not available commercially
then the favourable terms warrant registration. Indeed, this was
the finding in the Thomason case.
Mr Mandelson borrowed a very large sum of money from
Mr Robinson. Could he have borrowed this in the usual way from
a Bank or Building Society? Is it correct that he also borrowed
£150,000 commercially from the Britannia, and still had a
mortgage on his flat before he sold it? If so, would any financial
institution have lent so much money to someone on an MP's pay?
Had any commercial enterprise so lent him the money,
would they have done so at such a fine rate of interest? Was Mr
Mandelson paying regular monthly interest on the £373,000?
If not, did the interest waiver amount to favourable terms in
itself? If he was paying interest on all these borrowings, did
he declare all the income that made these payments possible?
It appears that the loan was well outside normal
commercial practise and that is why it came from a colleague and
friend rather than from a financial institution. If this is so,
surely it should have been registered? This had been clearly established
by the Thomason case. I never remember any rider which said that
if an MP borrowed from another MP the usual rules were suspended.
28 January 1999