Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Ninth Report

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 eventual inheritance.

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.

11.    No.

12.    No.

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 left.

PS. The deposit was paid by a cheque dated 2 October and the balance by direct bank transfer on 22 October.

17 May 1999


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