The former Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has revealed that Michael Gove was behind the ‘Queen backs Brexit’ story which was published in The Sun newspaper.
The story, which was published in March, resulted in Buckingham Palace making an official complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation who subsequently ruled the article as ‘misleading’.
In a BBC interview, Mr Clegg claims that the newspaper’s senior source was in fact the former Justice Secretary Michael Gove who told the paper that people “were left in no doubt at all about the Queen’s views on European integration”.
In the interview, Mr 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.”
Mr Gove had previously denied passing on the story to The Sun, saying: “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.”
The article, which ran on the front page of the newspaper. was ruled as “significantly misleading by IPSO.
In a statement, IPSO said: “The headline contained a serious and unsupported allegation that the queen had fundamentally breached her constitutional obligations in the context of a vitally important national debate.”
The claims that Michael Gove was behind the story will cause further controversy and questions as he was a senior figure in the Brexit camp ahead of the UK voting to leave the European Union.
After the referendum, he was sacked as Justice Secretary by Theresa May and has since returned to the backbenches following a failed bid to replace David Cameron as Prime Minister.