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Prime Minister David Cameron rules out inquiry into Queen Brexit row as Sun defends story


Prime Minister David Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron

AFP/Getty Images

Claims: The Sun’s front page

Claims: The Sun’s front page



Prime Minister David Cameron

David Cameron has rejected calls for an official investigation into the leak of reported comments made by the Queen on the EU.

The Prime Minister said the matter was being dealt with by the press watchdog and there was no need for a further inquiry.

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

The story was based in part on comments the Queen was said to have made to Nick Clegg when he was deputy prime minister.

Mr Cameron said: "The Palace has made a clear statement, and the former deputy prime minister has made a clear statement saying that this didn't happen and I think we should leave it at that. There is an investigation by Ipso, and we should let them do their work."

His comments came as Michael Gove, an ardent Leave campaigner, emerged as prime suspect as the source of the leak. The Justice Secretary was one of four ministers, including Mr Clegg, at a meeting of the Privy Council in 2011 when it is thought the conversation with the Queen took place.

A spokeswoman for Mr Gove refused to comment on the claims, but Mr Cameron appeared to accept his colleague was not involved. "As I can see, Michael Gove has no idea where this story came from either," he said.

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Sun editor Tony Gallagher defended his paper's reporting, even though the Queen did not explicitly advocate leaving the EU. "Two sources came to us, and we would have been derelict in our duty if we didn't put them in the paper," he told BBC Radio 4.

"We are completely confident that the Queen's views were expressed exactly as we have outlined them. We knew much more than we published, and that remains the case. We are in no doubt that the story is accurate."

But Labour MP Wes Streeting has written to Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, urging him to investigate the leak, saying it would be an "extremely serious breach" of Privy Council rules if it came from one of their meetings.

"Whoever has sought to drag the monarch into the referendum debate ought to be dragged into public to explain why they behaved in such an inappropriate way," he said.