Boris Johnson quizzed on Prince Andrew case by Raworth
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Boris Johnson refused four times to say whether British taxpayer money will be used to fund Prince Andrew’s settlement. The royal agreed to an out-of-court settlement in principle with Virginia Giuffre this week, which allows the Duke of York to avoid a civil trial. The settlement sum remains undisclosed but is reportedly as high as £12m.
On Tuesday, Andrew announced the “settlement in principle” with Ms Giuffre in a joint statement that made no admission of guilt over the allegations which he has always denied.
Despite the agreement, it remains unclear where the money to fund the settlement will come from.
The BBC’s Sophie Raworth used her interview with Boris Johnson to quiz the Prime Minister on the concerns.
She asked: “Is any public money going to be used in Prince Andrew’s settlement with Virginia Guiffre?”
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Mr Johnson dodged the question, saying: “I can’t answer any questions about the process that is going on, and I certainly can’t answer any questions about the Royal Family.”
Ms Raworth quizzed the Prime Minister three more times about the issue, asking: “Should public money be used?”
Mr Johnson responded: “No Prime Minister ever answers questions about the Royal Family.
“It’s not my job to answer questions about the Royal Family.”
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This comes as a Labour MP Andy McDonald will use the return of MPs to Parliament next week to seek assurances public money will not be used.
Mark Stephens, an international reputation lawyer from the firm Howard Kennedy, told The Guardian that the royal will have to explain the sources of the settlement money, or risk more “reputational damage” to the monarchy.
Mr Stephens said: “I think there’s equal concern that it comes from the royal family and what they want to see is that Andrew is paying out of his own pocket – that he’s personally being financially punished here.”
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It has been reported that the Queen agreed to help her second son with the settlement by personally making a £2m donation to Ms Giuffre’s charity for victims’ rights.
However, Buckingham Palace has declined to comment on reports the Queen will be contributing with her private income, derived from the Duchy of Lancaster estate.
In the joint statement, the Duke of York pledged to “demonstrate his regret for his association with Epstein” by supporting the “fight against the evils of sex trafficking and by supporting its victims”.
Andrew is also reportedly in the process of selling his Swiss ski chalet with the property expected to generate many millions in funds.
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