Corbyn: Serious questions surrounding Prince Andrew

The scandal has escalated since Prince Andrew's rambling denials and explanations in a disastrous...
The scandal has escalated since Prince Andrew's rambling denials and explanations in a disastrous TV interview at the weekend. Photo: Reuters
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says there are questions to be answered after a televised interview in which Prince Andrew denied accusations he had sex with a teenage girl.

Andrew, Queen Elizabeth's second son, denies an allegation that he had sex with a 17-year-old girl, Virginia Roberts (now Virginia Giuffre), procured for him by his American friend and sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.

The scandal has escalated since Andrew's disastrous TV interview with the BBC aired on Saturday left many viewers incredulous, and his apparent lack of compassion for Epstein's victims drew widespread condemnation.

Speaking publicly for the first time about his relationship with Epstein, who killed himself in August this year while being held on federal sex-trafficking charges, he gave an at times rambling and contradictory account.

Since the interview with the BBC aired on Saturday night, it has overshadowed Britain's election campaign.

Asked during a TV election leadership debate with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday whether the monarchy was fit for purpose, Corbyn said: "It needs a bit of improvement."

When the presenter followed up by asking whether Prince Andrew was fit for purpose, Corbyn said: "There are very, very serious questions that must be answered and nobody should be above the law."

In response to the same questions, Johnson said "the institution of the monarchy is beyond reproach".

"All our sympathies should be with the victims of Jeffrey Epstein, and the law must certainly take its course."

COMPANY LOGOS GONE FROM ANDREW'S WEBSITE

A scheme for entrepreneurs founded by Prince Andrew has taken down the logos of its corporate sponsors from its website, as firms and charities distance themselves from the British royal.

The "supporters" page on the website of Andrew's Pitch@Palace programme, which is intended as a platform to boost the work of entrepreneurs, was no longer available on Tuesday.

Cached versions of the page, saved in June this year, showed it carried the logos of brands including KPMG, AstraZeneca, Barclays, Cisco, Standard Chartered and Bosch.

Pitch@Palace did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Insurance broker AON confirmed it had asked Pitch@Palace to remove its logo from the website. A spokesman said the logo had been placed on the site in error, as AON had no connection to the scheme.

KPMG, which was listed as a "founding partner" on the old supporters page, ended its sponsorship of Pitch@Palace on October 31.

Several national media in Britain reported the decision was linked to adverse publicity around Andrew at that time. A KPMG spokesman declined to comment.

Standard Chartered said it would not be renewing its sponsorship of Pitch@Palace when it expired at the end of the year.

A spokesman for AstraZeneca said the company's three-year partnership with Pitch@Palace was due to expire at the end of the year and was being reviewed.

Barclays, which has supported participants in the Pitch@Palace programme for five years, declined to comment.

Separately, British charity The Outward Bound Trust has called a board meeting this week to discuss Andrew's patronage, a spokeswoman said. Other non-profit organisations were having similar internal discussions, British media said.

In Britain, royal patronage is usually considered an honour and a boost for charities.

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