Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 220 - 239)



  220.  The first loan you had for that property was from Geoffrey Robinson?
  (Mr Mandelson)  No, I do not accept that. I do not know whether the money came into my solicitor's account. It may or may not have done. I do not know. Do you mean what time the loan from Geoffrey Robinson arrived in my——

  221.  A month before the Britannia produced the mortgage money you had a loan from Geoffrey Robinson in relation to that house?
  (Mr Mandelson)  The deposit, correct.

  222.  So the first loan you had in relation to that house——
  (Mr Mandelson)  I am sorry, yes.

  223.  —— was from Geoffrey Robinson? It was not from the Britannia Building Society?
  (Mr Mandelson)  I had the offer from the building society and their agreement to it, but the first money I had was from Geoffrey Robinson at the time of the deposit, yes.

  224.  I think you have actually established the first offer of a loan you had was from Geoffrey Robinson?
  (Mr Mandelson)  Okay. All right, yes, he did say earlier on, "If you need any help, I will help you."

  225.  If you had the assurance you could borrow not just the deposit but the money you needed from Geoffrey Robinson, the first offer of a loan you had came from Geoffrey Robinson? The first actual loan you had came from Geoffrey Robinson as well we have established.
  (Mr Mandelson)  If you want to be really technical, the first offer or intimation of help came from my mother, not Geoffrey Robinson.

  226.  The first offer of a loan which you actually took came from Geoffrey Robinson.
  (Mr Mandelson)  The first offer of a loan which I actually took was the deposit, yes.

  227.  The last point I want to return to is the question of what your solicitor knew about your loan from Geoffrey Robinson. I suspect one of your answers slipped out without you meaning it. Can you confirm that your solicitors knew in advance that you were getting the loan from Geoffrey Robinson?
  (Mr Mandelson)  In advance of what?

  228.  Let us say, for a start, in advance of the completion of the purchase?
  (Mr Mandelson)  Yes, because of the deposit.

  229.  We know that it was an advance for the exchange of contracts.
  (Mr Mandelson)  My solicitors were not actually involved in that. I talked to Geoffrey about that, my solicitors did not. My solicitors talked to Geoffrey after the Party Conference. I am not saying that they did not know, yes, they knew that Geoffrey was there.

  230.  I will put my question in a very straightforward way. When do you think that your solicitors first knew that you were likely to be taking a loan from Geoffrey Robinson?
  (Mr Mandelson)  When I borrowed money from him for the deposit.

  231.  A day or a week before or at the time when you put down their names as your solicitors on the mortgage application form?
  (Mr Mandelson)  No, they did not know that when I completed the application form.

  232.  At the end of August when you filled in the form——
  (Mr Mandelson)  There was no agreement at the end of August for Geoffrey to help me, there was no arrangement. There was no agreement at that stage.

  233.  I think we understood that you had the offer from Geoffrey Robinson to see you right in terms of the money you might need to borrow substantially before that?
  (Mr Mandelson)  Did the solicitors know that he was the wicket keeper, that he was the safety net? No, I do not think they did.

  234.  We have established that you knew that Geoffrey Robinson was the safety net.
  (Mr Mandelson)  Yes.

  235.  That had come from earlier on in the year. There is no question about that. That is right, is it not?
  (Mr Mandelson)  Yes.

  236.  At what stage would your solicitors have known? At what point would either your solicitors or your research assistant have known that Geoffrey Robinson would be the safety net? You may want to separate between your solicitors and your solicitor's son.
  (Mr Mandelson)  I am afraid I cannot give you a categorical answer to that, I just do not know. Certainly my research assistant knew that I was viewing houses, or viewing flats as the case was, with Geoffrey. I am sorry, I do not know whether they knew or not. I would want to assume that they did. This was not a secret. This was not something of "look, do not tell anyone", that I turned to my solicitor in July or August and said "do not tell anyone but if all else fails Geoffrey is going to come through". It was not a secret. I never wanted to keep it a secret. It was not something that was so extraordinary that it needed to be kept secret. It was only turned into a great secret by the newspapers and the headline that the Guardian chose to splash across their story.

  237.  I was actually only asking you when either your research assistant or your research assistant's father, your solicitor, might have known, presumably from you rather than from Geoffrey, that Geoffrey would provide whatever loans became necessary?
  (Mr Mandelson)  I cannot give you a completely certain answer to that question I am afraid. I do not know the precise date on which they knew that Geoffrey was around in the sense of not just around helping me but in the sense that he was going to be a failsafe.

  238.  In the agreement that was drawn up between you and Mr Robinson, which I think was in October.
  (Mr Mandelson)  It was after the Party Conference.

  239.  That was drawn up by your solicitor, is that right?
  (Mr Mandelson)  Yes, Geoffrey phoned him.

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