Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Ninth Report


ANNEX J

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Mr Stephen Wegg-Prosser of Wegg-Prosser and Farmer Solicitors

  


RE PETER MANDELSON MP

Thank you for your letter of 31st March. Although I believe Mr Mandelson has accurately reflected the contents of the memo of my conversation with Mr Robinson in his letters to you and to the Britannia and in his public statements, since it was a record of a confidential conversation between myself and Mr Robinson, I feel that I must obtain Mr Robinson's consent before I forward a copy of the document to you. I will approach Mr Robinson immediately, and assuming his consent, I will forward a copy of the memo as soon as possible. I do however require that consent.

The General Conditions of the Britannia offer to Mr Mandelson state that "The balance of the purchase price is to be provided by the purchaser and it is understood that no second mortgage or other loan is being arranged in connection with the purchase." At the date that the Report on Title was delivered to the Britannia I understood that this was the case. Subsequently when the personal loan from Mr Robinson was agreed shortly before completion neither I nor Mandelson thought to inform the Society.

My personal conduct of the conveyancing of Mr Mandelson's home has been exhaustively investigated, initially by the Britannia in correspondence and later in correspondence and in a very lengthy interview with Solicitors representing and advising the Society. I understand they have reported to the Britannia that no action is appropriate or required.

I have acknowledged that because of a number of factors, including the illness and death of my father in October 1996, my own management of the transaction fell below the high standard that I have maintained in 30 years of practice. I appreciate that I should have thought to inform the Britannia of the arrangement with Mr Robinson. I should make it clear however that it has always been my view that the loan never prejudiced the interests of the Britannia both because of its terms and the identity of the parties involved. I understand that they accept that view.

May I say that I believe that my relationship with my client, the Society, is a confidential, indeed a privileged one, and I would ask that you treat this letter as being sent in confidence. Mr Mandelson has asked that I co-operate fully with you, and I shall do so, but it is unclear to me why my relationship with the Britannia is an appropriate matter to be investigated by your office.

6 April 1999


 
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