Duke loses back­ing

Townsville Bulletin - - The Goss -

FRESH doubts sur­round the Duke of York’s con­tin­u­ing role as UK trade am­bas­sador in the wake of con­tro­versy about his ties with a con­victed pae­dophile.

The Daily Tele­graph re­ported that min­is­ters were to re­view his po­si­tion and re­duce his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

The move comes af­ter more me­dia cov­er­age about Andrew’s links with bil­lion­aire Jef­frey Ep­stein.

A se­ries of min­is­ters in­clud­ing Busi­ness Sec­re­tary Vince Cable have now re­fused to of­fer the royal pub­lic back­ing.

For­eign Sec­re­tary Wil­liam Hague, how­ever, did praise his per­for­mance in his un­paid role as an en­voy.

Mr Hague t ol d t he BBC’s Pol­i­tics Show: ‘‘ I’m not an ex­pert in what you say are the em­bar­rass­ments . . . but cer­tainly I’ve seen around the world a lot of good that he has done for this coun­try.’’

Andrew has known the Amer­i­can fi­nancier since the early 1990s, and met him as re­cently as De­cem­ber in New York. Ep­stein, 58, was ac­cused of sex of­fences by a num­ber of un­der­age girls and sen­tenced to 18 months in prison in 2 0 0 8 f or s ol i ci t i ng a mi­nor for pros­ti­tu­tion.

The Duke has been the UK’s Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for In­ter­na­tional Trade and In­vest­ment since 2001, pro­mot­ing Bri­tain’s busi­ness in­ter­ests. A Cabi­net min­is­ter told the Tele­graph the Duke’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties would be the sub­ject of a ‘‘ task­ing re­view’’ that would l ead to a re­duc­tion in his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. But, there would be no of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment of the re­view, as the gov­ern­ment was wary of an­tag­o­nis­ing the Queen and Royal Fam­ily.

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