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Michael Gove does not rule out being source of Queen Backs Brexit story

Published 12/03/2016

Michael Gove is campaigning for a Leave vote
Michael Gove is campaigning for a Leave vote

Michael Gove has refused to rule out being the source of reported comments made by the Queen on the EU.

During a Brexit campaign visit in Hampshire, the Justice Secretary said he did not know where The Sun got all of its information from.

Buckingham Palace has lodged a formal complaint with the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) about the report which appeared under the headline Queen Backs Brexit.

"I don't know how The Sun got all of its information," Mr Gove said.

Mr Gove said the Ipso investigation into the leak was a "matter for them" and refused to say if he would cooperate with it.

Pressed on whether it was unfair to drag the Queen into the row about Britain's future in the EU, he replied: "I've already said that enough has been said about this story so I don't think it's appropriate to say any more than I've already said and others have already said."

Asked if he thought the Queen would be pleased to see him when he next has an audience with her, he replied: "I don't know. I wouldn't speculate on a matter like that."

Mr Gove spoke to reporters as he knocked on doors canvassing for the Vote Leave campaign.

Quitting the EU is "not a leap into the dark, it is a stride into the light", he insisted.

The Cabinet minister also gave a speech to supporters in Southampton, urging them to fight an optimistic campaign.

Told by one campaigner that David Cameron must not be allowed to carry out exit negotiations with Brussels following a vote backing Brexit, Mr Gove insisted he wanted the Prime Minister to take charge of the talks.

"I want David Cameron to stay as Prime Minister. I want him to lead a strong team to negotiate a better deal. We must respectfully disagree on that one.

"I'm a big fan of his. This is the only thing I can think of where I disagree with him."

The comments prompted some members of the audience to shake their heads and say "no" while others murmured and hissed.

Sources close to Mr Gove said: "Michael did not brief this story."

His spokesman has previously insisted: "We don't comment on private conversations with the Queen."

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