Sunday, December 27, 1998 Published at 10:15 GMT
Mandelson made mistake says Blair
The Sunday newspapers: Pursuing the loans scandal
The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has broken his silence over the resignation of Peter Mandelson, saying the former trade secretary made a "mistake" and has "paid a very heavy penalty".
"What is important now is that we keep a sense of perspective about it," he said.
"That goes on. We got elected as New Labour - we'll govern as New Labour."
But the Conservative deputy leader Peter Lilley accused the prime minister of failing to condemn wrong-doing.
He told the BBC: "It is not possible for the prime minister to brush this aside as if his cronies do not have any rules applied to them that apply to everyone else."
As Mr Blair spoke, Sunday's newspapers unveiled a wealth of new allegations against the Labour politician already said to be considering a rapid comeback.
It questions whether Mr Mandelson declared the mortgage to the Britannia Building Society. He has already been asked whether or not he declared Mr Robinson's loan when he applied for a £150,000 mortgage from the Britannia - as required by law.
Meanwhile, The Express on Sunday says that Mr Mandelson failed to declare a free trip he took as the guest of American millionaire businesswoman Linda Wachner in the House of Commons Register of Members' Interests.
Tory Shadow Chancellor Francis Maude said the gift was a "clear breach" of Parliamentary rules.
"We will be asking the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to investigate this matter.
"We will also be pressing the prime minister for a full investigation into decisions taken by Peter Mandelson as Trade and Industry Secretary to ensure that no impropriety has occurred," he said.
The Sunday Times says that Mr Robinson offered three other unnamed ministers "help" in relocating to London and implicates Mr Brown's press secretary, Charlie Whelan, in the negotiations.
A senior Treasury source described the claims as "completely and unequivocally untrue". He added: "This story is baseless and malicious."
On Saturday a spokesman for the former trade secretary had asked the media to stay away. He said: "He... hopes the media will respect his need for time off."
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