Government backs Prince

 
Marion Dakers
DOWNING STREET pledged its support to Prince Andrew in his role as British trade envoy yesterday after fresh criticism of the prince’s ties to a billionaire convicted sex offender.

David Cameron’s office played down reports throughout the day that it was considering side-lining Prince Andrew from his trade duties, telling journalists: “We fully support Prince Andrew in his role as trade envoy.

“We think he does an important job, he makes an important contribution and we are not reviewing that role,” a spokesman added.

However, government sources earlier told the media any further revelations would make the Prince’s position untenable.

Labour MP Chris Bryant said the government should get rid of Andrew immediately.

“I think the government is making a big mistake here,” he told BBC radio. “They should be absolutely clear -- we are going to dispense with his services.”

Andrew is in hot water over his friendship with New York financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was jailed in 2008 for child sex offences.

Sarah Ferguson, the Prince’s ex-wife, said yesterday that the couple accepting money from Epstein was “a gigantic error of judgement”.