Lady Colin Campbell has caused outrage after defending Prince Andrew’s friendship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and claiming on live TV that soliciting sex from minors ‘is not the same as pedophilia’.
The aristocrat, 70, made the comments on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday as the Royal Family began circling the wagons around Prince Andrew.
Lady Colin Campbell said: ‘You all seem to have forgotten that Jeffrey Epstein, the offence for which he was charged and for which he was imprisoned, was for soliciting prostitution from minors. That is not the same thing as pedophilia.’
Lady Colin Campbell faced a backlash from presenter Piers Morgan after she repeatedly insisted there was a clear moral difference between paying a minor for sex and pedophilia.
She said it was ‘prostitution‘ when Morgan asked her what she would call it.
Morgan replied: ‘If you solicited a 14-year-old for prostitution, you’re a pedophile.‘
Lady Campbell said: ‘It doesn’t matter.‘
A shocked Morgan hit back: ‘It does matter. You’re procuring an underage girl for sex.’
He added: ‘That’s what he was convicted of! I’m sorry, I’m sorry, with respect, that is nonsense.’
Lady Campbell replied: ‘Was he? 14? Well, I’m not justifying Jeffrey Epstein.‘
‘Pedophilia, I suspect there’s a difference between a minor and a child.’
She claimed a minor was not a child, but the law states they are both someone under the age of 18.
DailyMail report: Prince Andrew twice stated his relationship with Epstein had provided ‘seriously beneficial outcomes‘, giving him the opportunity to prepare for a future role as a trade envoy.
He cast doubt on the authenticity of a picture that appears to show the Prince with his arm around the waist of Virginia Roberts, when she was a teenager.
He expressed regret at making contact with Epstein in 2010 – flying to New York to say in person the friendship was over – after the pedophile had been released from an 18-month prison term for prostituting minors.
But Lady Colin seemed to defend his decision.
She said ‘civilised‘ people would always dump a friend in person, adding: ‘He’s made many mistakes. The fact of the matter is you cannot criticise someone because they aren’t as bright as you would like them to be.’
There was angry reaction on Twitter. Steph Ferrier wrote: ‘Lady Colin Campbell on GMB saying procuring and selling a 14 year old is not pedophilia because a minor is different to a child? I’m sorry, what?! Can she hear herself?!’
David Wilson said: ‘If there is ever been a time 2 consider abolishing the monarchy I think Prince Andrew & Lady Colin Campbell have made it worth considering.‘
And Jan Harvey added: ‘Everyone this morning, ‘I don’t think public relations can get much worse for #princeandrew’. Lady Colin Campbell; ‘Hold my Chardonnay.’’