Duke loses backing
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.