“Did You Discuss Tariff Cuts With Deripaska?” Four Times Mandy Refuses to Deny Allegation

In a tough interview the BBC’s Richard Galpin asked Lord Mandelson four times if he had discussed cutting tariffs with Oleg Deripaska. Mandy tried using the same kind of spin lines that he bluffed with Sophie Raworth; “I’m not distracted by media squalls, sensationalist headlines… there was no conflict of interest, no impropriety”.

We know, as Trevor Kavanagh reminds us, that Mandelson is a proven liar, however he is not an idiot. He no doubt has heard the rumours of tapes and boasts by oligarchs that they have western politicians in their pocket. So perhaps the explanation for his reticence in answering the question, and uncharacteristic aversion to risking a lie to deny ever discussing tariff cuts worth billions to Deripaska, is the fear that he will be contradicted.

Paul Waugh reckons “the only sensible conclusion to draw is that Mandelson did indeed discuss the tariffs.” He is surely right.


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