Reply to the Chairman of the Committee
on Standards and Privileges from Mr Geoffrey Robinson MP|
Thank you for your letter of 12 May. The answers
to your questions are as follows:
1, 2 & 5 I have checked my diary for 1996
and can confirm that I had dinner with Mr Mandelson in my flat
at the Grosvenor House hotel on 23 May. The date of 23 May is
therefore the precise answer to questions 1 & 2.
3. Over dinner Mr Mandelson, who is
a very long standing friend, mentioned that he was looking to
buy a better property. I offered to help if help was needed. Mr
Mandelson noted that with thanks. There was as far as I recall
not much more to that part of the conversation other than his
4. I had no doubt about Mr Mandelson's
ability to repay the loan. I was not in any need of early repayment.
He mentioned at the 23 May dinner that there would eventually
be substantial funds coming to him from his mother's estate.
6. Some time in August 1996. I have
checked my diary but unfortunately find no entry that can make
this any more precise.
7. When negotiations for the loan got
underway with Mr Stephen Wegg-Prosser in late September and mid-October.
8 & 9. As my reply to point 7.
10. Mr Mandelson was not much involved in
the negotiation. The terms were agreed over a few days in mid-October.
13. The loan was a private and personal
arrangement between Mr Mandelson and myself which we mutually
agreed we would treat as confidential. There was no conversation
about either of us releasing the other from the 'obligation of
privacy'. When the story broke in the press there was no confidentiality
PS. The deposit was paid by a cheque dated 2 October
and the balance by direct bank transfer on 22 October.
17 May 1999