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