Chuka Umunna launched a scathing attack on Prince Andrew today as he branded him a ‘disgrace’ and urged the royal to give evidence in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.
The Liberal Democrat told Good Morning Britain that Prince Andrew had ‘done more to undermine the monarchy than any other person in his lifetime’, warning he was ‘undermining the institution’ of the family.
In a blistering attack, Mr Umunna also said Prince Andrew should ‘do the right thing’ by flying to the US to give evidence, or retire from public life.
He aired his thoughts in the wake of the senior royal’s car-crash BBC Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis on Saturday evening.
The Duke Of York with BBC interviewer Emily Maitlis in the interview which was aired on Saturday night
Prince Andrew interviewed by Emily Maitlis for BBC Newsnight regarding links to Jeffrey Epstein
Liberal Democrat Chuka Umunna told Good Morning Britain that Prince Andrew had ‘done more to undermine the monarchy than any other person in his lifetime.’, warning he was ‘undermining the institution’ of the family
Prince who doesn’t like to ‘party’
In his BBC interview, Prince Andrew claimed he had ‘never really partied’ – and is averse to public displays of affection – as he rebutted allegations he had sex with Virginia Roberts.
But a number of images have resurfaced, showing him letting his hair down at wild parties and frolicking with several glamorous young women.
On BBC’s Newsnight special, the Duke of York insisted that he had no idea why he had been dubbed the ‘party prince’.
He said: ‘I don’t know why I’ve collected that title because I don’t … I never have really partied.’
He added: ‘I was single for quite a long time in the early 80s but after I got married I was very happy and I’ve never really felt the need to go and party and certainly going to Jeffrey [Epstein]’s was not about partying, absolutely not.’
But footage and snaps of the dishevelled prince at parties, some without his suit jacket and with his shirt untucked, would suggest otherwise.
The duke can be seen at several soirees in the late 2000s on the French Riviera partying with women. He was pictured in July 2007 at a party in Saint-Tropez embracing a number of women including socialite Chris Von Aspen, who he holds by the waist.
Asked what he thought of the Royal following his controversial interview, Mr Umunna said: ‘[He] is a disgrace. I just think he’s a complete disgrace, I cannot believe the interview that happened.
‘I do not understand why public figures, particularly politicians, have been pulling their punches on this.’
Andrew’s appearance on Newsnight to explain his friendship with the convicted sex offender and deny allegations of having sex with an under-age teenager has been widely condemned, but the duke is said to being standing by his decision to put his side of the story.
Mr Umunna said added: ‘Look, the monarchy continues to exist with consent and he has done more to undermine support for democratic consent, if you could call it that, in the monarchy than any member of that family than I have seen in my lifetime.
‘He has let down the institution, I think the lack of self-awareness is breath-taking, he should go to the U.S, give evidence where needed and do the right thing as he’s done too many of the wrong things so far.
‘I think unless you call these things out, all of the different institutions on which we depend are undermined.
‘I have to say, I have been quite surprised how hesitant people have been because you are talking about someone who has spent time with a convicted paedophile and decided to go and do that after this person served time… I am sorry, there is no middle way here.
‘He hasn’t done the right thing and he needs to do the right thing.’
He went on: ‘If he was a politician… he would have been forced to resign ages ago.’
Piers asked if he doesn’t go to the United States, what should happen, Chuka added: ‘I think he should withdraw from public life, it has been such a misjudgement.
‘I think he is doing immeasurable harm to the Royal family. I happen to have a lot of respect for the Queen, I think she has done an incredible job for our country. Everything he is doing at the moment is undermining that institution.
‘We have got so much instability in our country our politics is a complete mess. People do look to the institution of the monarchy to provide some stability and an anchor. Whether you are a Republican or not, you cannot deny that.
‘He is undermining it. This is bigger than him the individual.’
Asked what he thought of the Royal following his high-profile interview, Mr Umunna said: ‘[He] is a disgrace. I cannot believe the interview that happened. I do not understand why public figures, particularly politicians, have been pulling their punches on this.’
Prince Andrew (pictured during his interview with Emily Maitlis on the BBC’s Newsnight) is facing a furious backlash over his relationship with Epstein
Later in the show media lawyer Mark Stephens and the Queen’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter also spoke of the furore surrounding the senior royal.
Former royal protection officer Dai Davies said he believed protection officers would have been with Andrew at a nightclubs like Tramps or at Pizza Express with the senior royal.
He told the show today: ‘I don’t believe, frankly, a word he said. I would like to sit down with him… and interrogate him as a police officer as against a journalist.
‘I have seen some of the testimonies [of the women]… he is innocent until proven guilty, but unless you start investigating a crime, as we well know, you will never find any evidence.
‘What can I say? I’m frustrated at best and astonished at worst over this whole issue. It’s not been handled well by anyone.’
Dickie Arbiter spoke about how the Queen will be feeling. He said: ‘She is Queen, the head of state, but she is also a mother… she has to put on a brave face in public… but in private, she will really want to know from Andrew what is going on. And I don’t think she is getting answers.’ He added he needed to step back until this matter was resolved.
Mark Stephens said some of the Prince’s charities and business partners were now starting to desert him. He added: ‘If they are walking away from him.. then I think there is no future for him.’