The truth behind the Queen’s EU blunder

  • By Hawwa Arafat

 

Europe “I just don’t understand it”

 

sun queen brexti

The International is not exactly what you could call a fan of the Sun to say the least, it takes more than just a leap of faith to believe more a lot of the trash it prints. (Read more…)

When a national press newspaper publishes front page quotes of the Queen however it attracts a lot of attention.

The Sun claimed to have exclusives on multiple conversations with the Queen in which she explained she backed a Brexit and showed a clear lack of understanding as to how the EU works. The Sun painted a very embarrassing image of the Queen making her appear to be rather ignorant. Nick Clegg however, the alleged recipient of her majesty’s views, dismissed the report as “nonsense” and completely fabricated, a Buckingham Palace spokesman insisted the Queen is, as ever, “politically neutral”.

So, who to believe? The Sun’s “exclusive bombshell”, was anonymously sourced. The source described only as “a senior political source” and “a highly reliable source”. Or the former Deputy Prime Minister who was actually in conversation with the Queen at the time.

The author of the story Tom Newton Dunn of the Sun claims the conversation occurred in 2011 when the Queen created a stunned and shocked crowd after making several ‘passionate’ comments on the matter to Nick Clegg.

Newton Dunn quoted his source as saying: “People who heard their conversation were left in no doubt at all about the Queen’s views on European integration”.

Newton Dunn introduced “a parliamentary source” who is said to have overheard the Queen say “I don’t understand Europe” on a different occasion, during a reception for MPs at Buckingham Palace “a few years ago.”According to the source: “It was said with quite some venom and emotion. I’ll never forget it”.

At least one claim in Newton Dunn’s article was certainly true: “The claims will trigger a controversy.” That, of course, did come to pass as the story led this morning’s TV and radio bulletins.

When the Sun inquired whether the Queen had told Clegg of her alleged antagonism, it prompted a Palace spokesperson to issue one it’s much loved put-downs: “We would never comment on spurious, anonymously sourced claims.”

Some “no comments” speak a thousand words the preceding sentence, “The Queen remains politically neutral, as she has for 63 years”, could be interpreted as definitively negating the Sun’s incredible claims.

Of course this doesn’t mean that the comments were not said in some form or another.

Clegg’s denial “I have absolutely no recollection of it… I think I would have remembered something as stark or significant as you have made it out to be. No doubt you’ll speak to someone else and they’ll say, ‘I was there. I heard it’. Fine.”

As rebuttals go, there have certainly been more forceful statements. He beefed it up a bit with a tweet later describing the story as “nonsense” and a spokesman on his behalf went so far as to call it “categorically untrue”. The weak initial rebuttal could simply be because some claims as so fantastical they don’t warrant being taken seriously?

The Sun is not a stranger to publishing unfavorable stories about the Queen, Migrants, Ethnic Minorities and Muslims.

The International Press and Media Group can not verify the claims made by the Sun, but that does not categorically mean some the Queen did not make any negative comments in passing towards the structure of the EU, right?

As a golden rule in life, we should try not to make wild and damaging accusations without indisputable and clear evidence.


 

H.Arafat@therinternational.org.uk