MP questions if UK should foot bill for Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s security

A Labour MP has said it is a "reasonable question" to ask whether UK taxpayers should foot the bill for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's security when they move to Canada.

In January, Harry and Meghan announced they wanted to step back from full-time royal duties and split their time between the UK and Canada while pursuing financial independence.

The move has raised questions over the costs of the couple's security during their time in North America.

Labour MP Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth) said it was "deeply concerning" that UK taxpayers may have to pay for this at a time when police budgets are stretched.

During a Commons debate on police funding, he said: "I wouldn't normally bring up this sort of thing, but it has concerned me.

"And I'm fully respectful of their right to choose a different path themselves, but the royal couple, Harry and Meghan, I understand there are some quite serious concerns being raised about the spiralling costs of policing and protection for them which could be apparently spiralling into tens to hundreds of millions of pounds.

Labour MP Stephen Doughty
Labour MP Stephen Doughty

"I find that deeply concerning because when we're looking at some of the challenges faced in our own communities, people will rightly ask 'where's the money for our police officers? Should we be funding that security overseas?'

"And I think that's a very reasonable question to be asking."

Armed security is provided by the Metropolitan Police at the request of the Home Office.

The Government does not comment on security arrangements or the related costs for royals or their residences as such information "could compromise the integrity of these arrangements and affect the security of the individuals protected".

Following the Sussexes' announcement in January, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said no decisions had yet been taken about who will fund protection for the couple as they split their time between the UK and Canada.

In an interview with Canadian television channel Global, Mr Trudeau said: "I think that is part of the reflection that... needs to be had, and there are discussions going on."