The Duke of York and his ‘doubtful’ peers ‘could be stripped of their titles’

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The Duke of York and his peers could be stripped of their titles under a proposed law tabled in Parliament.

There is currently no mechanism for that title to be removed, but calls for action against Andrew have increased since he paid millions to settle a US civil sexual assault case with his accuser Virginia Giuffre.

Rachael Maskell, Labor MP for York Central, seeks to address the gap in the law through her Title Removal Bill.

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

Its purpose is to give the monarch new powers to remove titles or a committee of Parliament to determine that a title should be removed.

Maskell told the PA news agency that his constituents made it clear to him that they wanted the title of Duke of York removed, particularly given York’s recognition as a Human Rights City.

She argued that there is already a “culture clash” when it comes to conversations about how to tackle violence against women and girls in the city.

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

An aerial view of York city center (Anna Gowthorpe/PA) / P.A. file

She said there is a “definite interest” from across the Commons and even the Lords to put in place a mechanism to address the problem of “people who have not lived up to public expectations”.

Mrs Maskell said: “In February, when we focused on the court case that was being brought against Andrew, my constituents responded that 80% of people wanted the association with the current Duke of York to be broken. And so I met with the clerks here in the House of Commons to see how that can be achieved.”

He added: “There are no established mechanisms, even for the monarch, to remove the title. The only real way to do that is for Andrew to no longer call himself, by choice, the Duke of York.

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

“And it is a city, which is a Human Rights City, the only Human Rights City in England. We’re already in a culture shock when we talk about violence against women and girls and the issues that we’re really working hard on in the city, how to make York a very safe place.”

He continued: “If this principle can be established, it could obviously have broader implications.”

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

Ms Maskell highlighted the case of disgraced fellow Lord Nazir Ahmed, adding: “It could therefore have wider implications for how legislation could be used to remove titles from people who have not lived up to expectations. of the public”.

Lord Ahmed was convicted earlier this year of twice attempting to rape a girl and sexually assaulting a boy under the age of 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 introduction to Parliament of Ms Maskell’s bill, which will receive its second reading on December 9, comes shortly after York City Council decided to strip Andrew of his Freedom of the City.

Andrew had already resigned from various patronages in both the city and county in 2019, after stepping down from his royal duties due to 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 that she had been trafficked by his friend, the late Mr Epstein.

Although the parties settled the case in February, the out-of-court settlement did not result in an admission of guilt by the Duke, who has always strenuously denied the allegations against him.

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