Lady Colin Campbell has defended Prince Andrew and claimed soliciting sex from a minor is not paedophilia.
The socialite and TV personality caused anger on ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Monday with her controversial comments.
She appeared to defend disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein in the wake of a ‘disastrous’ BBC Newsnight interview given by Prince Andrew at the weekend.
Epstein was convicted in 2008 of procuring an underage girl for prostitution and of soliciting a prostitute. When he died in his New York jail cell in August, he was facing charges of sex trafficking minors.
The Duke of York has been criticised for his lack of remorse in the Newsnight interview about his links to Epstein.
On Good Morning Britain, Lady 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 paedophilia.”
She was immediately challenged by co-presenter Piers Morgan, who asked her what it was. She replied: “Prostitution.”
But Mr Morgan said: “If you solicited a 14-year-old for prostitution, you’re a paedophile.”
He added: “You’re procuring an underage girl for sex. That’s what he was convicted of. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, with respect, that is nonsense.”
Lady Campbell said: “Was he? 14? Well, I’m not justifying Jeffrey Epstein. Paedophilia, I suspect there’s a difference between a minor and a child.”
Mr Morgan replied: “A 14-year-old is a child. Legally, she’s a child.”
When asked why Prince Andrew didn’t cut his ties immediately with Epstein, Lady Campbell said: “He does things in the correct way. You dump people in person.”
She added: “He has made many mistakes. You can’t criticise someone because they aren’t as bright as you would like them to be.”