Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has piled pressure on Prince Andrew as he called for the royal to cooperate with US authorities over his friendship with a convicted sex offender.
Andrew is caught in a war of words with American authorities who claim he has not made good on his offer to help them as they investigate Jeffrey Epstein, who died in prison while awaiting trial on sex offence charges.
But the Duke of York insists he has offered to speak with investigators on several occasions, even accusing them of seeking headlines instead of help.
On Monday morning, Sir Keir, a former director of public prosecutions for the Crown Prosecution Service, called for Andrew to cooperate.
Speaking on LBC, he said: “They do approach British authorities all the time, that happened throughout my five-year term as director of public prosecutions and we always cooperated.
“We strongly cooperate with other countries around the world and we would have cooperated on any issue where they said ‘this is the cooperation we need’.”
Answering specifically on the Duke of York’s case, he added: “Course he should cooperate with the US.”
Pressed on whether he was disappointed with Andrew’s response, Sir Keir said: “He will have to justify his own actions. But it doesn’t matter who you are, you cooperate with the law enforcement authorities when they ask you to do so.”
Sir Keir’s comment on US requests comes after Boris Johnson claimed the FBI has not made contact with UK authorities to speak to Andrew.
The PM declined to comment on how his government would respond to a request, and said: “No such approach has been made and otherwise it really is a matter for the Royal Family.”
Andrew, 60, has been accused by one of the alleged victims of Epstein, Virginia Giuffre, of having sex with her on three occasions when she was trafficked by the New Yorker.
He denies all the allegations against her and says he does not remember meeting her. He has not been charged in the case, but the FBI said it wants to hear from him.
Last week, the FBI arrested and charged Ghislaine Maxwell, a former associate of Epstein and his one-time girlfriend.
They charged her with helping to groom the teenagers who became his victims. She has appeared in court and is being held in prison awaiting trial.
Maxwell, 58, knew Andrew from university and is said to be the link between Andrew and Epstein. It’s believed she introduced them in 1999.
After the arrest, acting US attorney for the southern district of New York Audrey Strauss said investigators would “welcome” a statement from Prince Andrew.