Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Support for Andrew over trade role

The Duke of York's position as Britain's trade envoy appears secure after ringing endorsements from the Government
Foreign Secretary William Hague has defended the Duke of York

The Duke of York's position as Britain's trade envoy appears secure after ringing endorsements from the Government.

Prince Andrew had faced calls to resign or be removed from his post over his relationships with a series of controversial figures, including a convicted paedophile.

But Chancellor George Osborne gave Andrew his backing during a Cabinet away-day in Derby when he said: "We have confidence in him doing the job and we think he's done a good job in recent years.

"He's promoted British exports. What we want is everyone promoting British exports at the minute and Prince Andrew has done that."

David Cameron's official spokesman said the Prime Minister also had full confidence in the Duke as trade envoy and was "fully supportive" of him staying on.

Fresh doubts had been raised about Andrew's position in the wake of further media coverage over the weekend about his links with American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2008 for soliciting a minor for prostitution.

He has also faced criticism for entertaining the son-in-law of ousted Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali at Buckingham Palace.

The Duke has been the UK's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment since 2001, travelling around the world and at home promoting Britain's business interests.

A Palace spokesman said: "The Duke of York remains committed to the role of special representative and we are pleased that the Government recognises this."

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