Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, has been branded a ‘national embarrassment’ by a Labour MP and is being urged to quit his role as a trade ambassador for the UK.
The backlash has arisen because links were recently established in the press between the Prince and a number of discredited businessmen, including a man in the US accused of soliciting under age girls for prostitution and a relative of the recently deposed Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
This comes after last year the Duke’s former wife Sarah Ferguson was filmed by a tabloid apparently offering a businessman the opportunity to meet her husband in exchange for money.
Although the Prince has denied any wrong doing, Labour MP Chris Bryant, a former foreign minister, has called for the Prince’s removal from his official envoy duties at UKTI following the revelations.
“I am sure there are some countries in the world where having a visiting royal makes a difference, it makes it possible to have some meetings which wouldn’t otherwise be possible. But I am afraid he has now just become a national embarrassment,” said Bryant.
“My worry is that, sometimes when he goes on these trips, I am not sure whether he is helping us out or he is just helping himself. The truth is we shouldn’t be using him for these delegations anymore.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable said ministers will consider the situation as part of regular strategy reviews but any decision to resign has to be left with the Prince himself.
“He is a volunteer, he has offered to perform these roles, and I think it is down to him essentially to judge the position he wants to be in,” he said.
“Obviously there are conversations that will take place with him about what he is to do in future. That is simply a matter of managing the relationship.”