Jeremy Corbyn says monarchy needs ‘improvement’ as party leaders debate Prince Andrew

PUBLISHED: 22:16 19 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:03 20 November 2019

Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson. Photograph: ITV/PA Wire

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Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson. Photograph: ITV/PA Wire .

Jeremy Corbyn has claimed the monarchy ‘needs a bit of improvement’ as the televised election debate moved on to the subject of the royal family and Prince Andrew.

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ITV's Julie Etchingham quizzed the two prime ministerial hopefuls in light of questions over Andrew's friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who took his own life in jail while facing sex trafficking charges.

The Queen's second son has been accused of showing a lack of empathy with Epstein's victims and a lack of remorse for his friendship with the disgraced financier.

Labour leader Corbyn and his Tory counterpart Johnson were initially asked if the monarchy was fit for purpose.

Corbyn replied: "Needs a bit of improvement."

Johnson said: "The institution of the monarchy is beyond reproach."

Asked about the duke, Corbyn said: "Before we discuss Prince Andrew I think we should discuss the victims that are there because of what Epstein was doing.

"I think there are very, very serious questions that must be answered and nobody should be above the law, but the primary position ought to be the proper treatment of those people who were victims of the most appalling behaviour by apparently Epstein and many others."

Prime Minister Johnson said "all our sympathies" should be with the victims of Epstein, adding: "The law must certainly take its course."

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