Former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg claims in a new BBC documentary that Michael Gove was behind the controversial “Queen Backs Brexit” story, which was leaked to The Sun newspaper earlier this year.
The article, published in March, had claimed the Queen had “let rip” at Clegg about Europe during a lunch at Windsor Castle, when he was deputy prime minister.
The story forced Buckingham Palace to make an official complaint to the press watchdog, The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).
IPSO found the headline was “significantly misleading” because it suggested a “fundamental breach” of the Queen’s constitutional obligations.
However, The Sun stood by the story with the newspaper’s editor in chief Tony Gallagher telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that it was written on the basis of “impeccable” sources.
Gove , the former secretary of state for justice, has previously denied being one of the sources, saying in March: “I don’t know how the Sun got all its information and I don’t think it’s really worth my adding anything to what’s already been said.”
Speaking to the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg in a documentary set to air on Monday evening, Clegg said: “Michael Gove obviously communicated it — well, I know he did, he gave this to The Sun”
“I mean, the idea that the Queen of all people would even bother to give someone as insignificant as a ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ deputy prime minister a tongue lashing about Europe I just think is … so preposterous, so it was not true … I think it was very, very disrespectful of Michael Gove to have done that.”
The documentary, “Brexit: Battle for Britain,” will air on BBC Two at 9 p.m. (GMT) on Monday.
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