Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Ninth Report


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


Thank you for your letter concerning complaints you have received about me.

Geoffrey Robinson's loan to me was not made through virtue of my membership of the House of Commons. He is a friend of seventeen years standing and the help he gave me did not relate to my duties as a Member of the House. Notwithstanding, I have taken your advice and registered the loan, and I fully accept your reasoning in suggesting this. Incidentally, should any question be pressed regarding my building society mortgage, you will be aware that the Britannia have made clear that they are satisfied with the information I submitted to them. As this is a personal financial matter, I do not believe it should concern the House.

As regards the flight accepted from Ms Linda Wachner, I have been—and will remain—scrupulous about disclosing financial or material benefits received by me in my capacity as a Member of the House. As I discussed with Mr Willoughby, it is important to make a clear distinction between such registrable benefits and the hospitality and kindnesses received from friends which have no bearing on my parliamentary role and duties. Ms Wachner is a good and close friend with whom I have been on holiday on a number of occasions since 1994. The use of her plane is a personal matter—and nothing to do with her American-based company—and I have travelled on it on two or three occasions including last summer. I can, if you wish, find out details of any UK business interests she has but I have never discussed these with her and I do not think my membership of the House will have any bearing on them.

I hope you will accept from me that I have not wittingly transgressed in any way but if you want to pursue the issues further, I am happy to answer any further questions.

23 February 1999

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