Alastair Campbell: Duke of York’s TV interview was a ‘mistake’

The Duke of York’s TV interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was a “mistake”, ex-Downing Street director of communications Alastair Campbell has said.

Mr Campbell, who was former Labour prime minister Tony Blair’s press secretary, said he did not think Andrew’s weekend appearance on BBC’s Newsnight was not “as bad as it is now being defined”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the duke’s “manner was really wrong” and “he didn’t really have answers to some of the very, very difficult questions”.

“There is a danger of a, what has been a kind of low-running frenzy for some time, becoming a bit of a crisis for him,” he said.

“Now, as it happens, I think the interview was a mistake, I don’t think it was as bad as it is now being defined.”

He added: “I think there will be some people thinking ‘Is this quite as big a deal as we’re being told?’, but I think it was a mistake and I think partly because he didn’t really have answers to some of the very, very difficult questions and also I think the manner was really wrong and often the tone of an interview like that is what counts for people.

“I think, if I were him, I would do a little bit of show don’t tell, carry on doing what he does, yes, accepting there’s going to be all this noise around him.”

Mr Campbell recalled a past foreign trip, where Ghislaine Maxwell, whom he knew from his work on the Daily Mirror, happened to be on the same plane and asked if he wanted to go out for dinner.

He said: “So I ended up going to Jeffrey Epstein’s very, very nice apartment in New York, I think the one where Prince Andrew was filmed peeking out of the door.”

On Epstein, Mr Campbell added: “He was a big figure within New York society. I’ve got to be honest – this is not just hindsight – I found him a bit creepy.”

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