Leeds & West Yorkshire

Prince Andrew 'should resign from Huddersfield University role'

Prince Andrew at the University of Huddersfield Image copyright PA
Image caption Prince Andrew was installed as Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield in 2015

Students have called on Prince Andrew to resign as University of Huddersfield Chancellor because of his "blasé" attitude to Jamal Khashoggi's death.

The Huddersfield Labour Students group said comments by Prince Andrew during an event for entrepreneurs in Abu Dhabi were "insensitive and inflammatory".

Prince Andrew said he hoped his Pitch@Palace scheme would expand "into Saudi".

The BBC has approached the Duke for a response.

The university said it was "surprised" at the students' reaction.

Writer Mr Khashoggi, an outspoken critic of the Saudi crown prince, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul three weeks ago.

Saudi Arabia initially denied all knowledge of the journalist's fate but the Saudi public prosecutor now describes it as premeditated murder.

Prince Andrew made no comment about Mr Khashoggi during his speech, but in closing said: "It's hugely important for us to have partners in the region.

"We look forward to working in Bahrain with our partners there and, as time goes by, we hope to expand also into Saudi and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October

In a statement, Huddersfield Labour Students (HLS) said Prince Andrew had demonstrated a "blasé attitude towards the murder of a member of the free press", according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The group accused the Prince of having a "lack of concern for acts of injustice the world over if condemnation of said incidents could be seen to get in the way of making a profit either for his own enterprise, or that of the UK government".

It said should the Duke not step down, it would call for the support of the students' union "in removing this individual from his position of power within the university".

The HLS statement comes on top of calls for Prince Andrew to acknowledge Saudi Arabia's links to Mr Khashoggi's death, including from Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle.

In response, the University of Huddersfield Conservative Association said the Duke's comments "were poorly timed" but that it was not appropriate for HLS to call for his resignation.

Instead, they questioned the motives behind the HLS statement and said it resembled "a witch hunt".

A spokesperson for the university said: "The Duke's speech is in the public domain on the Duke of York's Facebook page and having carefully reviewed it we are surprised at the reaction of the Huddersfield Labour Student Society and would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with them."

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