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March 9 - 15 2011 No. 1024
THE WEEKLY WORLD EDITION OF The Daily Telegraph AND The Sunday Telegraph telegraph.co.uk/expat
:: SPORT PAGE 48
HSBC plots London exit
Galliano fired Dior dumps designer after ‘Hitler’ tirade :: NEWS P7
By James Kirkup, Gordon Rayner and Steven Swinford THE Duke of York paid the price for his association with a convicted paedophile this week as the Government decided to downgrade his role as Britain’s trade ambassador.
Ministers are to carry out a review of his position and his responsibilities will be reduced.
Whitehall sources have conceded that the Duke could still be forced out altogether if there are further damaging disclosures about his personal affairs.
Pressure on the Duke increased on Sunday night when it was established that Jeffrey Epstein, who recently served 18 months in jail for child sex offences, paid off debts owed by Sarah, the Duchess of York, after an alleged intervention from her former husband.
Epstein, who played host to the Duke at his Florida home, a mansion where under-age girls were sexually abused, gave £15,000 to the Duchess’s former personal assistant after the Duke allegedly approached him for help last December.
There is no suggestion the Duke had any sexual contact during his visit to Epstein’s mansion.
Government sources this week said the Prime Minister “won’t shed many tears” if the Duke quits as Britain’s special representative for trade and investment, and five ministers in the departments overseeing the Duke’s role refused to give him their backing.
A Cabinet minister told The Telegraph that the Duke’s responsibilities would be the subject of a “tasking review” that would lead to a reduction in his responsibilities.
The minister said there would be no official announcement of the review, as the Government was wary of publicly putting pressure on the Duke to quit, for fear of antagonising the Queen and the Royal family.
Privately, however, government insiders increasingly believe that the Duke’s position is becoming untenable. One senior Conservative figure who has dealings with the Duke described him as a lonely and misguided figure with poor judgment.
“There appears to be no discernible mental activity,” the senior Tory said. “I feel sorry for him. He has no friends and so is surrounded by these vile people.”
Another government source said: “We won’t be giving a full-throated defence of him. There won’t be many tears shed if he resigns.”
The Duke’s role is overseen by UK Trade and Investment, a government body under the charge of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, with input from the Foreign Office.
Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, failed to give the Duke his backing when he was asked if he should continue in the role, and four other ministers in the two departments also refused to voice support for the Duke this week.
Mark Prisk, the business and enterprise minister, would say only “no comment” when asked if he still
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Libya veers into civil war Rebels pushed back as Gaddafi unleashes army :: NEWS P3
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HSBC looks set to swap its Canary Wharf headquarters for Hong Kong
BORIS JOHNSON, the Mayor of London, this week pleaded with HSBC to avoid taking a short-term view after it emerged the bank has told shareholders that it would probably quit London, writes Roland Gribben.
At the weekend it was revealed that Britain’s biggest bank is “more likely than not” to shift its domicile to Hong Kong.
However, a spokesman for
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‘Drink driving. If you don’t mind me asking, how do you afford it?’ Chancellor promises measures to help consumers combat soaring oil prices Report, page 5