Wikileaks: Prince Andrew to keep world trade envoy role
PRINCE Andrew is to keep his role as a UK international trade envoy despite revelations about his comments attacking anti-corruption moves against a major British company.
However, the Duke of York came under attack from Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable who said the anti-corruption policy "is not a matter" for him and he should stop talking about it.
Mr Cable made his comments after the Wikileaks revelations that the fourth in line to the throne had attacked investigations into BAe when he on an official trip two years ago.
The Duke's words at a discussion with British businessmen in Kyrgyzstan were noted in a confidential diplomatic cable sent by US ambassador Tatiana Gfoeller.
Despite the indiscretion and his anger over the anti-corruption comments, Mr Cable praised Prince Andrew's work as a trade ambassador and said it should continue. But he said it would be "helpful" if he steered clear of policy issues after the leaked documents showed he condemned anti-corruption investigators as "idiotic".
"It would be helpful not to comment on policy matters of that kind, but his contribution is a very positive one and I want to encourage him to continue to make it," Mr Cable said.
Buckingham Palace and Downing Street said they would not comment. But Kaye Stearman, of Campaign Against the Arms Trade, said: "It is wrong that UKTI (the international trade body] is promoting weapons sales and wrong Prince Andrew is seen to be supporting arms sales and accepting corruption.
"This report shows the relationship seems to go even deeper, with Prince Andrew speaking out against a government agency attempting to investigate corruption and arms deals. He should resign from his UKTI role immediately."
Ms Gfoeller described the Prince boasting "cockily" about UK influence in expletive-laden exchanges at the two-hour brunch for UK and Canadian businessmen in 2008.
She reported the Prince attacking the Serious Fraud Office investigation - later closed - into alleged kickbacks related to BAe Systems' multi-billion-pound al-Yamama arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
"He railed at British anti-corruption investigators, who had had the 'idiocy' of almost scuttling the al-Yamama deal with Saudi Arabia," she said. "He then went on to 'these (expletive] journalists, especially from the National Guardian, who poke their noses everywhere' and (presumably] make it harder for British businessmen to do business. The crowd practically clapped."
The palace stressed the comments were made two years ago in a private meeting.
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