Prince should be sacked, says ex-ambassador

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Indy Politics

The continuing scrutiny over the Duke of York's business links is seriously damaging Britain's reputation abroad, a retired ambassador has warned the Government.

Stephen Day, a former ambassador to Tunisia and Qatar, spelt out his fears over the Duke's position as a trade envoy in a letter to William Hague, the Foreign Secretary.

He wrote: "It takes a lot to bring former British ambassadors to criticise a member of the Royal Family in public but it is surely now recognised that the Duke's activities are doing such serious damage to the Royal Family itself and to Britain's political, diplomatic and commercial interests that an entirely new role should be found for him as soon as possible."

Mr Day used the letter, leaked to the Daily Telegraph, to raise questions about the Duke's friendships with members of the Tunisian regime, which was toppled in January. He has been criticised for entertaining the son-in-law of ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali at Buckingham Palace.

"The Duke's activities in Tunisia were the source of rumour and speculation in Tunisian business circles... and I was often asked what he was up to and in what way he was promoting trade with Britain," Mr Day wrote.

Last night Mr Day confirmed he had written to the Foreign Office and two other Whitehall departments. Although he refused to discuss its contents, he said: "I wanted to express my concerns about these stories about the Duke's activities, particularly relating to Tunisia... I did not call for him to be sacked. I don't know what his job is."