'Debate to be had over future of monarchy' after Prince Andrew scandal says Nicola Sturgeon

28 November 2019, 23:54

Prince Andrew and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Prince Andrew and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: PA

By Megan White

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said there is “debate to be had over the longer-term future of the monarchy” after the controversy surrounding the Duke of York.

Prince Andrew stepped down from public duties after mounting pressure following his BBC Newsnight interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Following the programme’s screening, he was criticised for showing a lack of empathy towards the victims of his late friend, who took his own life in prison earlier this year while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

He said that he "let the side down" over his relationship with Epstein as he gave the "no holds barred" interview.

In an interview on ITV News At Ten on Thursday, Ms Sturgeon said that a debate about the monarchy should not be a distraction from Epstein's victims.

However, when asked whether the issue made her consider whether the monarchy is fit for purpose, she replied: "I think it raises a number of questions.

"I think there is a debate to be had about the longer term future of the monarchy, one of the things though in the context of Prince Andrew that I feel very strongly about is that a debate about the monarchy shouldn't be a distraction from Epstein's victims and how they now get whatever justice they can get and get the truth and the ability to move on.

"And I think while yes there is a debate to be had about the former, I don't think it should become conflated with that or be used in any way to sort of take attention from that."

The duke has resigned from a large number of patronages and seen organisations he was once involved with sever ties in the wake of the Newsnight interview.