Former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has claimed that Michael Gove was one of the sources behind the Sun's controversial 'Queen Backs Brexit' headline.
Speaking to the BBC as part of a documentary on the EU vote, Clegg told the broadcaster's political editor Laura Kuenssberg that former justice secretary Gove had "obviously communicated" the story to the paper. "Well, I know he did," Clegg added.
The front page splash, which claimed that the Queen had voiced Eurosceptic views and "let it rip" at Clegg on the subject during a lunch at Windsor Castle in 2011, was subject to an investigation by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) following a complaint from Buckingham Palace.
The regulator dubbed the headline “significantly misleading," but the Sun's editor Tony Gallagher stood by the exclusive which it said was backed by two sources.
"I don’t accept that we made an error at all. We made a judgment that the headline was right and that it was backed up by the story," said Gallagher.
“We knew more than we put in the public domain. The sources were so impeccable that we had no choice but to run the story in the way that we did.”
Figures from both the remain and leave camps have been interviewed by the BBC for its referendum special, Brexit: The Battle for Britain which will air on Monday evening (9 August).
After making the allegations about Gove, Clegg added: "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."
Gove has previously denied his link to the story, and told Kuenssberg: "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."
Ipso said that while the article itself did not breach its code, the headline did as it was “a factual assertion that the Queen had expressed a position in the referendum debate, and there was nothing in the headline, or the manner in which it was presented on the newspaper’s front page, to suggest that this was conjecture, hyperbole, or was not to be read literally."