Duke of York and ‘questionable’ peers ‘could be stripped of their titles’

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The Duke of York and colleagues could be stripped of their titles under a bill introduced in Parliament.

There is currently no mechanism to remove such a title, but calls for action against Andrew have been mounting since he paid millions to settle a US civil assault case with his accuser Virginia Giuffre.

Rachael Maskell, Labor MP for York Central, is trying to address the gap in the law through her Title Removal Act.

Labor MP for York Central Rachael Maskell (Parliament/Jessica Taylor)PA medium

It is intended to give the monarch new powers to remove titles or a committee of parliament to determine that a title should be taken away.

Ms Maskell told the PA news agency that her constituents made it clear that they wanted the title of the Duke of York removed, especially given York’s recognition as a human rights city.

She argued that there is already a ‘culture clash’ when it comes to conversations about tackling violence against women and girls in the city.

Ms Maskell stressed that the proposed legislation could also have “wider implications” for individuals such as Lord Lebedev, the Russian-born businessman who was granted peerage in 2020, as he could also be stripped of his title.

An aerial view of York city center (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)PA archive

She said there is “absolute interest” from all over the Commons and even the Lords in putting in place a mechanism that would deal with the issue of “people who have failed to live up to public expectation”.

Ms Maskell said: “In February, when we focused on the lawsuit being brought against Andrew, my constituents replied that 80% of people wanted ties with the current Duke of York to be severed. And that is why I have been meeting with the Clerks here in the House of Commons to see how this can be achieved.”

She added: “There are no mechanisms, not even for the monarch, to remove the title. The only real way it could be is for Andrew to no longer voluntarily call himself the Duke of York.

“The problem, especially with an international city like York, is that using a title like the Duke of York is an ambassadorial role, it carries the name of our city around the world.

“And it is a city, a city for human rights, the only city for human rights in England. We’re already in a culture clash when we talk about violence against women and girls and the things we’re working really hard on in the city to make York a very safe place.”

She continued: “Obviously, if this principle can be established, it could have broader implications.”

Lord Ahmed arrives at Sheffield Crown Court to be sentenced in February 2022 (Danny Lawson/PA)PA wire

Highlighting the case of disgraced colleague Lord Nazir Ahmed, Ms Maskell added: “Therefore, it could have wider implications on how the legislation could then be used to remove titles from people who do not meet public expectations. have fulfilled.”

Lord Ahmed was convicted earlier this year of twice attempted rape of a girl and assault of a boy under 11 in the early 1970s.

In January, Rother Valley Conservative MP Alexander Stafford launched a petition in the wake of the verdicts, calling for Lord Ahmed to be stripped of his title.

The presentation to parliament of Ms Maskell’s bill, which will be read for the second time on December 9, comes not long after York City Council decided to strip Andrew of his freedom from the city.

Andrew had already relinquished several patronages in both the city and county in 2019, after resigning from his royal duties over his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

In her lawsuit, Ms Giuffre accused Andrew of sexual abuse, saying the Duke had sex with her when she was 17 and had been trafficked by his friend, the late Mr Epstein.

Although the parties settled the matter in February, the out-of-court agreement was not an admission of guilt from the Duke, who has always strenuously denied the allegations against him.