12/01/2009

PM Slams Prince Over 'Paki' Comment

Gordon Brown has branded Prince Harry's use of the word 'Paki' as 'unacceptable'.

The young royal made the comment on a homemade video, recorded three years ago.

Footage only came to light in a newspaper report at the weekend, creating a media storm around the third-in-line to the British throne.

Prince Harry was referring to a fellow army officer when he used the offensive word.

A public apology has since been issued on behalf of the prince.

He said the comments were made without any racist malice intended.

Today the Prime Minister told GMTV: "I think Prince Harry knows these comments were unacceptable."

Mr Brown said he had no doubt about the sincerity of Harry's apology.

"I think the British people are good enough to give someone who has actually been a role model for young people and has done well fighting for our country, gone into very difficult situations with bravery, I think they will give him the benefit of the doubt," added Mr Brown.
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According to reports, Prince Harry is set to face a grilling from Army bosses over the furore caused, and is expected to be called upon by his commanding officer regarding the comments soon.

Tory Leader David Cameron and Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg have also condemned the prince's use of the word.

In the footage, recorded by Harry, he can be heard behind the camera jovially introducing colleauges, as they wait to board a flight to Cyprus.

"Anyone else here ... ah, our little Paki friend ... Ahmed," Harry says as he zooms onto the face of Asian officer cadet Ahmed Raza Khan.

Mr Khan's father Muhammad Yaqoob Khan Abassi has said he found the incident "very, very hurtful".

"That word he used is a hate word and should never be used against any Pakistani," he said.

A spokesman for Clarance House said Prince Harry recognises how offensive his language towards Mr Khan was.

"However, on this occasion three years ago, Prince Harry used the term without any malice and as a nickname about a highly popular member of his platoon," the palace official said.

(PR/BMcC)

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