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Keir Starmer calls for Met Police to 'look at' Prince Andrew accusations after duke named in Epstein files
5 January 2024, 09:44 | Updated: 6 January 2024, 07:18
Keir Starmer calls for Met to 'look at' Prince Andrew accusations following Epstein files release
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for the police to examine allegations made against Prince Andrew.
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The Duke of York was accused of having an underage orgy in newly released US court documents relating to his paedophile friend Jeffrey Epstein.
The royal has strongly denied any wrongdoing.
He has now been reported to the police by anti-monarchy group Republic.
"Wherever there's a complaint made, it's inevitable that it should be looked at," the Labour leader said.
"We have to start with the victims here, and look at what allegations have been made.
"I've seen the headlines on this, not the detail, but frankly whoever it is, where there are allegations, credible allegations made, then of course they should be looked at."
Rishi Sunak, on the other hand, refused to back calls for an investigation.
Speaking in Cheshire, the Prime Minister said it would 'not be right' for him to comment on policing issues.
Mr Sunak said: "Look, its long-standing convention you wouldn't expect me to comment on police matters, that's not right.
"The police have operational independence from politicians, that's right that they do that, and obviously the police make those operational decisions.
"The police are operationally independent of government and politicians, it's not right for me to start directing the police on operational matters."
A spokesman for the Met said: "We are aware of the release of court documents in relation to Jeffrey Epstein.
"As with any matter, should new and relevant information be brought to our attention we will assess it.
"No investigation has been launched."
Andrew has been named dozens of times in court documents related to Epstein released by a US judge. The documents were from a 2015 case brought by Virginia Giuffre, Andrew's accuser, against Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's girlfriend.
The files also include a deposition from Johanna Sjoberg, a then-21-year-old college student who described seeing Andrew and Ms Giuffre at Epstein's home in Manhattan.
She had been hired as an assistant for the financier.
Ms Sjoberg claimed that she posed for a photo with Andrew and Ms Giuffre along with a Spitting Image puppet of the duke.
"And they decided to take a picture with it, in which Virginia and Andrew sat on a couch," she said, according to the documents.
"They put the puppet on Virginia's lap and I sat on Andrew's lap, and they put the puppet's hand on Virginia's breast, and Andrew put his hand on my breast, and they took a photo."
While the details were known to prosecutors it is the first time they have been released to the public.
Many individuals - including a raft of celebrities - are named in the documents.
One accuser, identified only as Jane Doe 3, said she was told to have sex with Andrew while she was a minor in three different places.
That included an alleged orgy with underage girls at Epstein's private island in the US Virgin Islands.
The Met said it would take no further action over allegations made against Epstein in August 2022.
It has also previously said it stood by its decision in 2015 not to probe claims by Ms Giuffre that Epstein trafficked her to London.
Graham Smith, the chief executive of Republic, said: "To date, there appears to have been no serious criminal investigation, no interview of the accused or other witnesses, and no clear justification for taking no action.
"I am calling on the Met Police to reopen this case, I am calling on MPs to debate this affair in Parliament, and I am calling on Charles to make a public statement, in front of the press and taking questions, to respond to these allegations and what they say about the monarchy.
"How can we not expect a response from the Government and head of state? At the time of the alleged offences, Andrew was a government trade ambassador and an active member of the royal family. They fudged and obfuscated for 11 years before taking any definitive action."
Andrew ultimately settled a civil case with Giuffre, reportedly for millions of pounds.
But any hopes he harboured of being able to rehabilitate his reputation - having stepped back from regular royal duties - have been quashed after being named 69 times in the US documents this week.
It is reported that King Charles has decided to finally shift Andrew out of the Royal Lodge, in Windsor, having failed to do so in past attempts.
He wants to move him to Frogmore Cottage, a much smaller home that Harry and Meghan used to live in.