this is bbc news. i'm shaun ley. the headlines at 9.003m: prince andrew categorically denies having sexual relations with an american women, who says she was forced to have sex with him when she was just 17. i can absolutely, categorically tell you it never happened. the duke of york said he does not regret his friendship with the convicted sex offender jeffrey epstein. the conservatives promise an equal immigration system after brexit — regardless of where a migrant comes from. in the latest of its election pledges, labour says it will promise free dental care for everyone in england. sri lanka's controversial former wartime defence chief gota baya raja pa ksa declares victory in a presidential election which has divided the country along ethnic lines.
our sunday morning edition of the papers is at 9.35am. this morning's reviewers are katherine forster from the sunday times and the business commentatorjosie cox. prince andrew has "categorically" denied having any sexual contact with a woman, who says she was forced to have sex with him when she was 17. he told bbc‘s newsnight he could not have been with virginia roberts on the day in question in 2001 as he was at home after spending the afternoon at a pizza express in woking with his daughter. the prince was also grilled about his friendship with the convicted sex offender jeffrey epstein. our royal correspondent, nick witchell reports.
in the state rooms at buckingham palace, a senior member of the royal family, prince andrew, second son of the queen, is preparing to be interrogated about allegations of sleazy behaviour and gross misjudgment. your royal highness, we have come to buckingham palace and highly unusual circumstances. at issue, which of these two people is telling the truth. andrew or virginia roberts, 17 years old when this photograph was taken, groom, she says, to provide sexual favours to powerful men. even the photo is contentious. andrew says he has no memory of it. trump, a nightclub in central london, virginia robert says she was there with andrew one night in march 2001 stop she says they later had sex. andrew says he was with his family and he told the bbc‘s emily maitlis there is a medical reason why miss roberts's allegation cannot be true. she was
very specific about that night. she described dancing with you. no. and you profusely sweating and that she went on to have... there is a slight problem with the sweating because i have a peculiar medical condition which is that i don't sweat, or i didn't sweat at the time. is it possible that you met virginia roberts, dined with her, danced with her in trouble, had sex with her on another date? no. do you remember meeting her at all? no. you can say categorically that you don't recall meeting virginia roberts, dining with her, dancing with eric trump before going on to have sex with her ina before going on to have sex with her in a bedroom at a house in belgravia. i can absolutely
categorically tell you it never happened. do you recall any kind of sexual contract with virginia roberts then or at any other time? none whatsoever. the other key figure in all of this isjeffrey epstein, the newer financial year who befriended andrew. i've employed virginia roberts and many other young girls. in 2008 he was convicted of child sex offence and sent to prison. do you regret the whole friendship with epstein? now, still not in the reason being that the people that i met and the opportunities that i was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful. in 2010, andrew visited epstein after his release from prison and stayed for several nights at his home in new york, a wrong judgment andrew 110w new york, a wrong judgment andrew now says, i let the side down.
0verall, did he think his behaviour had damaged the royalfamily? 0verall, did he think his behaviour had damaged the royal family?” don't believe it has been damaging to the queen at all. it has to me. i wonder what effect all this is sad your close family, you have daughters of your own? it has been what i would describe as a constant sewer in the family. finally, as he looks back. i wonder if you have any sense now of guilt, regret or shame about any of your behaviour and your friendship with epstein? as far as mr epstein was concerned it was a wrong decision to go and see him in 2010. do i regret the fact that he has quite obviously conducted himself in a manner unbecoming? yes. i'm becoming? it was a sex offender. yeah, i'm sorry, i'm being polite. andrew will be hoping that his a nswe rs andrew will be hoping that his answers allow him to move on. that remains to be seen.
joining me now is dickie arbiter, a former press secretary at buckingham palace. having seen the programme, is your sense that this is an interview that has helped prince andrew make his case 01’ has helped prince andrew make his case or hindered his case? very much entered his case. if he was thinking about crisis management he has created a greater crisis by talking about it. it is amazing he has no recollection meeting virginia roberts, but has a clear recollection of going for a pizza in woking. he will find it very hard to get out of this pit he has dug. in terms of the difficulty of this case, these are allegations that have been made by this woman who says that he and the number of other people she had sex with, he is categorically saying he didn't. in a
sense, the story can go nowhere, sue why did he feel it necessary to give them to be on the first place? the idea came up about six months ago to talk about his work but the goalposts have moved. it is similar to 199k goalposts have moved. it is similar to 1994 and the prince charles interview, that was meant to be an interview, that was meant to be an interview about the princes trust. why he felt he needed to do this, i don't know. maybe he thought it would clear the air. it hasn't at all, it has raised more questions. what can buckingham palace most usefully do not to try to mitigate the damage? he has caused the damage. i'm not terribly sure buckingham palace can do. it is there in the public domain. millions of people have watched it and a reading it in it in newspapers and seeing reports of it. it will run and run and run. buckingham palace can do you stand back in the hope
that the story will eventually fade away, but it will not fade away because there is potential litigation in the states. the fbi are investigating. they are within their rights to say you have talked to the media, we want to talk to you. he did say if push came to shove he would give evidence under oath to an investigator. in terms of the kind of pr situation. we had megan and harry interviewed a few weeks ago. now this. is there a problem with the royal family in terms of its handling of its image, which has been so carefully crafted? the royal family as a whole, the queen and prince philip, we see very little of prince phillip he has stepped back. the princess royal...
they are all doing a greatjob. harry, after our triumphant south african tour, ranted about the british media, taking away the good work that he did in south africa. now we have this with prince andrew. we have to separate the three people away from the rest of the royal family. isn't there a question of direction here? there is somebody at the top whose image and reputation is very important, the queen as head of state. all of this stuff is going on around her. doesn't somebody have to say, this has to stop. somebody at the palace would obviously say that. prince andrew is way down the food chain in terms of succession.
if that person isn't going to listen and goes ahead and does the interview, how do you stop them? do you barricade the gates? if that person says i want to do an interview, whether it is in the palace, and it was wrong to do at there, you cannot stop them. the communications office in buckingham palace is only as good as the advice thatis palace is only as good as the advice that is being taken. of the principal will take the advice there is nothing you can do about it. he has been forced to give up his role asa has been forced to give up his role as a trade envoy, a job he said he loved. do you think you should not be reflecting on whether he has a role in public life any longer? he is probably thinking about it and his charities are probably thinking about it. northern ireland decided to cancel an engagement or he was due to participate. as for next year, we will know until the
fullness of time. he will have to think he can fulfil his rule while this whole sorry saga is hanging over him like a cloud. thank you very much. thank you very much. the lawyer representing some of epstein's alleged victims, gloria allred, has responded to the interview and urged prince andrew to talk to the american authorities under oath. when prince andrew said that in fact the reason for meeting jeffrey epstein, staying at his home after mr epstein was convicted of sex crimes, that even after he was released from prison that prince andrew went to see him and walk through central park, the reason being that prince andrew says it was the right and honourable thing to do. we didn't want to tell him he couldn't see him again because he didn't think that was the right thing to do on the telephone, well,
i would say to prince andrew, the charges made by miss roberts, who i do not represent but is one of the accusers, the charges made by her against you are very, very serious charges. i think the right and honourable thing to do would be for you to say unequivocally i will voluntarily speak to the fbi. i do not depend on whether or not my lawyers say that i should do it. i know that it's the right thing to do, i have nothing to hide, i'm going to do the right and honourable thing. i say whether a person is a prince or a pauper, thing. i say whether a person is a prince ora pauper, if thing. i say whether a person is a prince or a pauper, if anyone has evidence or information that might be relevant to an investigation of a criminal case, that person should provide it to law enforcement. in this case, it would be the federal
bureau of investigation. i can share with you that my clients, who allege they are victims of mr epstein, some of whom were sex trafficked when they were underage girls, have spoken to law enforcement. they didn't need the advice of a lawyer to decide to do it, although certainly i provided advice. i have had many people call me and say, tell me how i can speak to law enforcement, i might have information that could be helpful to them. some of those people couldn't even afford lawyers, didn't need lawyers. they knew it was the right thing to do. that is what i think andi thing to do. that is what i think and i think it is overdue for that to happen and i challenge him to do that. joining me now is our royal correspondent nicholas witchell. when we spoke yesterday, we had only seen limited extracts. now we have
seen limited extracts. now we have seen the whole programme. what impression is left? as i said last night, he will be hoping to have some credit for having subjected himself to such an intense interrogation, but i think he let himself down from his point of view and some of the language that is used, the refusal to express any regret for the friendship. prince andrew is not short on self—confidence, but he is perhaps on self—awareness. i think many people have commented on the elements of arrogance, and the sort of na ivete elements of arrogance, and the sort of naivete about him, plus this lack of naivete about him, plus this lack of self—awareness. i think that came across of self—awareness. i think that came a cross very of self—awareness. i think that came across very strongly and would explain the pretty universally negative response, as far as i have seen so far, to the way he presented himself. he will be hoping that he would have given the impression that he has nothing to hide, that he was
plausible, candid. at the same time, as was said earlier, he is not somebody who necessarily comes across terribly well. he is not somebody who has a great reservoir of public sympathy out there already that he can rely upon. he is perceived to be an arrogant and difficult personality and i think we saw elements of that last night. from his point of view, he has tried to tackle head—on the substance, but he has kind of opened himself up to further investigations. yes. i don't see how he can now avoid giving a sworn deposition to the fbi or whoever, they would be keen to talk to him. he was noncommittal about that. is that if i have to, i suppose i will, but subject to legal advice. 0ne suppose i will, but subject to legal advice. one might suppose that by 110w advice. one might suppose that by
now given that this is the dominant thing in the background to his life that he would already, i'm sure he has, this must have already been explored. i think he did himself a disservice and not being able to say last night, well of course i will. i just want to help. in terms of the impact of this documentary, it has been universally panned by the domestic media here. i haven't seen yet the international reaction. there is a lot of interest in the united states about the story. in terms of the potential for the palace to regain control of this, what is their strategy, what can possibly be their strategy? i have seen reports that prince andrew's media adviser left his job a couple of weeks ago and that might have been connected to him not wanting prince andrew to do this interview.
0ne prince andrew to do this interview. one might suppose that there is some connection. as we have said, this is something that was driven by andrew himself. his own private office. he may well have consulted his own family, by that i mean his daughters. he was strongly of the view that he wanted to do this. what this tells us about the broader situation in buckingham palace, it tells us that there is a lack of strong central control. we have had two episodes not within a couple of months of senior members of the royalfamily doing months of senior members of the royal family doing it their way. we have had prince harry with his rant against the tabloid media, which was against the tabloid media, which was against the tabloid media, which was against the advice of his communications officials. i think they were rather despairing, quite frankly, of it. i expect we have a similar situation now with the queen's officials at buckingham palace, i don't think they were part of this. i don't know what they
advised, but i would suppose that they would have advised that he shouldn't do it, if their advice was sought. we were led to believe that the queen was informed, but she is 93 now, she is not exercising the strong control as much as she ever did. of her second son comes along and said, i have thought about this hard, iwant and said, i have thought about this hard, i want to draw a line under this, one would imagine that the queen may well say, are you sure? are you really sure? andrew would have said, i am absolutely sure, so she would have said, go ahead. that is perhaps where can you rely on the most senior members of the royal household to exercise authority through the various private offices of the principles. through that means, to persuade the principles
that you really mustn't do this, sir. the queen is coming to the end of her reign. prince charles will hope to succeed. is there a rule for him in this? you get into the complicated area of family dynamics of the elder brother. charles and andrew have very different personalities. would andrew accept the advice of his older brother on this? i have no real idea but i would suspect that it might be quite difficult for both of them. as a consequence of this, there will be people saying somebody has to get a grip now, the one point of fact it might be slightly too late. the mayor of greater manchester, andy burnham, says he has concerns about the use of any sort
of cladding on buildings after a fire at a block of student flats in bolton on friday. the fire service has confirmed that the material on the building is not the same type as used on grenfell tower in london, but mr burnham says it raises issues that need to be addressed, as kevin fitzpatrick reports it was a fire that spread rapidly and ripped through the top three floors of this building in the town centre. people were panicking and coming out because there was a real fire and there was a lot of smoke. so, people were panicking and everyone ran out. heard, like, banging on the door, and saying, "fire!" and i grabbed, like, my phone, like, the jacket and shoes and ijust ran. 220 students are registered as living there, and by saturday afternoon, the fire service said they'd spoken to every one of them. people were crying, talking about the possessions. it was mostlyjust uni work — a lot of people had uni work that they believe must have been destroyed, passports and laptops and valuables just all gone. the fire service say this blaze
was ferocious and it spread quickly through the top floors of this 6—storey building. at its peak, 40 fire engines and appliances were battling the fire. it took around five hours to get it under control. i really want to praise the actions of my firefighters and officers. their early intervention and quick decision—making that evacuated this building at pace early on in the incident has made a real difference to the outcome. the mayor, andy burnham, said that swift evacuation was due to a recent change in approach. as well as a fire command, which would always be sent by the fire service to any incident of this kind, they sent an evacuation command, which was a learning of their own from grenfell. the mayor confirmed that the cladding on the building is different to that which caused the grenfell disaster, but it was still considered to pose a risk in a subsequent fire safety inspection in 2017. the authorities believe work to remedy that has taken place, but an investigation will now establish whether it was done to standard. the prime minister visited
a support centre for those who've been displaced. bolton university is providing temporary accommodation, food and clothing for those affected. in the meantime, an investigation is under way to establish how this blaze began. kevin fitzpatrick, bbc news, bolton. the conservatives have set out more details of their plans for immigration after brexit, saying migrants will be treated equally regardless of where they come from. the cost for migrants to use the nhs would also rise. labour, meanwhile, have pledged free dental care in england. let's speak to our political correspondent susana mendonca. what's different about what the conservatives are saying today? we knew we were going to leave the european union and that would have an impact. and in free movement is something they have long talked about because that is a consequence of leaving the eu. the new bit that
ican of leaving the eu. the new bit that i can see is in terms of the charge for using the nhs, the idea that that would rise. at the moment it is £400 forforeign that would rise. at the moment it is £400 for foreign workers, they say it would rise to 650. essentially, the idea that you would need a job offer in order to come here and work in the uk if you were an eu migrant, thatis in the uk if you were an eu migrant, that is something that we would expect to be the case if free movement does them, so nothing particularly new in the arts. also, the five year wait before immigrants can claim benefits, that is something that has been spoken about as well. in terms of the reaction to this, we have had pushback from the business lobby, send this idea of having a job offer, what about those low skilled workers that businesses also need? low skilled workers that businesses also need ? will this low skilled workers that businesses also need? will this meet that we can bring people in on short—term contracts, things like seasonal labour? business wants a bit more reassurance as to what that would
mean. the conservatives are talking about immigration because it plays well in terms of those key target seats that they want to win from the labour party. this is something they wa nt to labour party. this is something they want to get the agenda onto these types of issues. it is complicated. they have these broken pledges on cutting the number of immigrants in three successive manifestos. the didn't get anywhere near meeting them. is there a danger that the message and substance of the policy become confused for the voters?m terms of trying to bring it down to the tens of thousands, lower than 100,000 in terms of trying to reach that target, that is always a difficult thing to achieve and they never did achieve it. in terms of this, they are trying to create a
sense of parity between those immigrants who come in from the european union and from other parts of the world. borisjohnson himself talks about how he sees immigration is not a negative thing, just that he would want to try to limit set. that is the message they want to hammer home. trying to attain target isa hammer home. trying to attain target is a more difficult thing, but they are not talking about numbers here, more about the broader principles. perhaps wisely, in the circumstances. labour have signed off on their manifesto. yes, several hours yesterday of discussion design of the manifesto. immigration is a controversial bets. in the labour conference, the labour grassroots wa nted conference, the labour grassroots wanted to extend freedom of movement, they wanted a commitment for that. that was something that the unions were worried about because they were concerned about how that would play with voters in areas where they need to hold onto their seats. we understand that in
this manifesto there will not be any explicit temp two extend or reference to extending freedom of movement. they will be talking about regulating the employment markets so that they can say people will be undercut by foreign workers coming in. in terms of some of the other key elements within it, one thing we hear a lot about today is what they are referring to as the free teeth mot. essentially, free dental checks. it is those initial checks when you go to the dentist. it is a 22.70 charge where people go in for our polish of their teeth, initial x—rays. they say a lot of people are deterred by that charge and as a result you have people turning up at a&e with problems which could be avoided if people went for those dental checks. they are talking about having a policy where they would provide that service. in terms of the cost of that, 450 million.
that is their big headline policy they are talking about today. they will include something in their ma nifesto will include something in their manifesto around helping women affected by the change in the state pension age. 0n net zero carbon emissions, people remember that they wa nted emissions, people remember that they wanted to set 2030 as being their deadline. you now understand this will be more of a target rather than a firm deadline because of the concern that they would not be able to meet that deadline. thank you very much. the government and armed forces have been accused of covering up illegal killings by british troops in afghanistan and iraq. an investigation by bbc panorama and the sunday times has spoken to a dozen british detectives who say they found credible evidence of war crimes. but the investigators say strong cases were not prosecuted. the ministry of defence has denied the claims. richard bilton has more. across two decades, british soldiers have fought wars in afghanistan and iraq. most did their duty and came home.
but some were accused of committing war crimes. panorama has found evidence the state covered up what they did. like the killing of rahid al—musawi in basra in 2003. translation: when rahid opened the door, the british soldier was crouching behind a pile of rubbish in the street. as soon as rahid walked out, the british soldier shot him here. detectives from the iraq historic allegations team investigated the case. they wanted to prosecute one soldier for the killing and his commanding officer for covering up what happened. but no one was charged. this detective asked to be interviewed anonymously. the ministry of defence had no intention of prosecuting any soldier of whatever rank
he was unless it was absolutely necessary and they couldn't wriggle their way out of it. ihat looked at hundreds of cases, but in 2017, the investigation was shut down, along with 0peration northmoor, which was looking at killings in afghanistan. there were no prosecutions. panorama has spoken to insiders in both investigations. they say cases were covered up. key decisions were being taken out of our hands. there was a more and more pressure coming from the mod to get cases closed as quickly as possible. the mod says military operations are conducted lawfully, and that decisions not to prosecute were made independently and after extensive investigation. richard bilton, bbc news. we'll be taking an in—depth look at the papers with our reviewers katherine forster from the sunday times and the business commentatorjosie cox. that's coming up after the latest headlines and a full sport update.
if you need a bit of inspiration this sunday morning a nine—year—old boy from belgium is about to become the world's youngest ever university graduate. laurent seemons is studying for an electrical engineering degree in the netherlands and if all goes to plan he'll graduate next month. laurent has a photographic memory and an iq of 145 — that's 15 points off einstein and stephen hawking. in the future he wants to explore how robotics can help extend human life. and if anyone can, it looks like he can. now it's time for a look at the weather. hello again. it is looking a bit better across parts of scotla nd a bit better across parts of scotland and northern ireland, but a lot of you sitting under grey skies for the rest of the day. here is where we will see outbreaks of rain