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Montevideo, September 22nd 2018 - 07:34 UTC

“Queen backs Brexit”, no longer a controversy according to BBC political editor

Wednesday, December 28th 2016 - 19:26 UTC
Full article 8 comments
Laura Kuenssberg said she was told about the alleged comment months before the eventual appearance of The Sun’s “Queen backs Brexit” headline in March. Laura Kuenssberg said she was told about the alleged comment months before the eventual appearance of The Sun’s “Queen backs Brexit” headline in March.

The BBC’s political editor has said she was told that the Queen supported EU withdrawal, but did not report it as she could not find a second source. Laura Kuenssberg said she was told about the alleged comment months before the eventual appearance of The Sun’s “Queen backs Brexit” headline in March.

 The front-page story caused one of the biggest rows of the referendum campaign, leading to a successful complaint to press regulator Ipso by Buckingham Palace, which said it was “misleading”.

The Sun stood by its story, saying it had two sources for the claim that the Queen had “let rip” at who was then deputy prime minister Nick Clegg about Europe at a lunch at Windsor Castle.

Mr Clegg has named then justice secretary Michael Gove as the source of the story, but Mr Gove has never confirmed the allegation.

Ms Kuenssberg said that her “jaw hit the floor” when an unnamed contact told her that the Queen had told a private lunch that she could not see why Britain could not simply leave the EU.

The BBC political editor told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “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?’ And a row ensued. “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.

“Lo and behold, a couple of months later, someone else did. Of course then ensued a huge row between that newspaper and the Palace over what had really been said or not said.

“There were lots of moments in the referendum campaign but for me that was one when my jaw did hit the floor. Very frustratingly, the story did eventually emerge, whether it was true or not.”

Categories: Politics, International.

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  • ElaineB

    “ the Queen told people at a private lunch”. Private. Not for public consumption. I hope none of those present ever get invited again.

    I don't know if it is true or not but the Queen would never have told people how to vote and stays out of politics. In the same way as her weekly discussions with the Prime Minister are always entirely confidential.

    Dec 28th, 2016 - 08:00 pm +2
  • Voice

    I don't think anyone would have been daft enough to be influenced by what the Queen thinks...she detested Diana, but most folk didn't...
    I remember the scandal, she was having a go at Nick Clegg apparently...
    I thought sooo....the Queen is backing Brexit....
    I voted remain....;-)
    She was also against the Scottish Independence...is that politics...? I'm not sure it was...
    I voted remain....
    I think I have a theme....

    Dec 30th, 2016 - 08:38 pm +1
  • gordo01

    Laura Kuenssberg is an excellent commentator and one reason to ONLY watch BBC television news.

    However, I think she should have been advised NOT to make public comments allegedly made by HM The Queen in private and which she, Laura, did not personally hear.

    Dec 29th, 2016 - 07:30 am 0
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