During the EU referendum, the Sun ran a front page with the headline ‘the Queen backs Brexit’. The paper reported that the Queen clashed with Nick Clegg, who was then Deputy Prime Minister, over Europe at a lunch in 2011 — at which she declared the EU was ‘heading in the wrong direction’. In the days and weeks that followed, the paper received much flak over the legitimacy of the story, with blame being pointed in Michael Gove’s direction. In fact, Clegg later used an interview with the BBC to pour scorn on the story:
‘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…’
Only now it seems that some brains at the BBC did have reason to believe it was true. Speaking on the Today programme, Laura Kuenssberg — the BBC’s political editor — said she was told the Queen had made anti-EU comments at a lunch before the Sun published its story:
‘In a casual chat with one of my contacts, they said ‘Do you know what? At some point this is going to come out, and I’m telling you now and I don’t know if the BBC would touch it, but the Queen told people at a private lunch that she thinks that we should leave the EU’.
Apparently at this lunch she said ‘I don’t see why we can’t just get out. What’s the problem?’ My jaw hit the floor. Very sadly, I only had one source. I spent the next few days trying to prove it. I couldn’t find the evidence.’
No doubt BBC impartiality meant Kuenssberg was unable to mention this until now…
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