Friday, January 8, 1999 Published at 12:24 GMT
Mandelson gets mortgage all-clear
Peter Mandelson: No further inquiries into his loans
The Britannia Building Society has chosen not to pursue the issue of former Trade Secretary Peter Mandelson's mortgage application any further.
Mr Mandelson, who resigned from the government over the affair, took a £150,000 mortgage from the building society after receiving a loan of £373,000 from the former Paymaster General, Geoffrey Robinson.
Mr Mandelson said, in a statement, he was "delighted" he had been given a "clean bill of health" by the building society.
The former Cabinet minister said the "intense speculation" about whether he had broken building society rules had contributed to the pressure on him to resign.
He said: "It is behind me now and I just want to get on with rebuilding my life and career."
In his statement, Mr Mandelson said at no stage had he intended to mislead the building society or withhold information.
He said: "I have explained that throughout, my mortgage was not prejudiced by any other private arrangement to pay the balance of the purchase price.
"When I filled in the application form those other arrangements were not yet clear, but in whatever way it was to be finalised, the building society's interests were never jeopardised.
In a statement, the society's chief executive John Heaps said Mr Mandelson had written to the society.
He added: "Mr Mandelson has written to the society clarifying his present personal financial position.
"We responded as we would in any case where a member brought new information to our attention, reviewing the mortgage arrangement in accordance with our normal procedures, and there have been no special courtesies extended to Mr Mandelson.
"Having completed this review, I am satisfied that the information given to us at the time of the mortgage application was accurate."
The statement concluded: "Having regard to all the circumstances, I have therefore decided not to pursue the matter further with Mr Mandelson."
The low-interest loan from Mr Robinson to his colleague was revealed before Christmas. Both Mr Mandelson and Mr Robinson resigned within hours of each other on 23 December.
The affair claimed a third scalp earlier this week with the decision by Chancellor Gordon Brown's press secretary Charlie Whelan to resign. Although many believed he had behind the revelations about the loan, he denied leaking the story.
The former minister would have been required to give Britannia details of all loan agreements when he applied for the mortgage.
Questioned at the time of his resignation, Mr Mandelson said he could not remember exactly what he had put on the application form.
Tory party chairman Michael Ancram told BBC Radio 4's The World At One "many unanswered questions remain".
He said: "The real question is if all this was perfect and above board, why did these resignations take place."
Mr Ancram repeated the Conservative's calls for more information about who else in government Mr Robinson had bankrolled.
UK Politics Contents
A-Z of Parliament