Buckingham Palace launches official complaint over Sun front page claiming Queen supports Brexit

The Sun story claimed the Queen had voiced Eurosceptic views at a 2011 lunch

Buckingham Palace has complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) about a report in the Sun newspaper which claimed that the Queen had voiced strong Eurosceptic views.

The front page story was based on an anonymous source's report of a lunch with Nick Clegg during his time as Deputy Prime Minister. 

It claimed the monarch had vented her anger with Brussels at Mr Clegg, who is pro-EU, during their meeting at Windsor Castle in 2011.

Clegg: Queen story is nonsense

 

“We can confirm that we have this morning written to the chairman of the Independent Press Standards Organisation to register a complaint about the front page story in today's Sun newspaper,” a spokesperson at Buckingham Palace said.

“The complaint relates to Clause One of the Editors' Code of Practice.”

Clause one governs accuracy, saying the press must “take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information” and correct it with due prominence if found.

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If Ipso finds against the newspaper, it will have to publish a suitably prominent correction, possibly on its front page, and face a possible fine.

Wednesday’s report generated much discussion over whether the information was reliable and why it would only come to light now, almost five years after the event.

A previous statement on behalf of the Queen said she was “politically neutral” and had remained so throughout her reign, dismissing the “spurious, anonymously sourced claims”.

Mr Clegg called the article “nonsense” on Twitter, saying he had no recollection of the exchange happening, while one of his representatives called it “categorically untrue”.

While the Sun’s front page was headlined “QUEEN BACKS BREXIT”, meeting came long before an EU referendum was tabled and the newspaper’s own editorial took a far softer stance.

“If she has a view on Brexit, don’t voters have a right to know what it is?” it read.

The “bombshell” claims cited a “highly reliable source”, who said:  “People who heard their conversation were left in no doubt at all about the Queen’s views on European integration. It was really something, and it went on for quite a while...the EU is clearly something her Majesty feels passionately about."

There have been calls for an investigation into who gave the Sun their quotes, although their sources are protected under British law in all but exceptional circumstances, when an order has to be given by a judge.

Wes Streeting, the Labour MP for Ilford North, wrote an open letter to the cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood on the issue.

Claiming that divulging what was allegedly said at the meeting would be a "serious breach of the rules of the Privy Council", he wrote: "If it is found that none of those who were present at the meeting in questions are implicated, I urge you to establish which “impeccably placed” individuals were involved in making such allegations to a national newspaper."

Michael Gove, then the Education Secretary, Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillian and Judith Simpson, a senior civil servant, were also at the meeting on 7 April 2011.

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