When the Sun ran its now infamous “QUEEN BACKS BREXIT” splash back in March, there was much speculation as to who the paper’s informant might be. Editor Tony Gallagher, in tight-lipped and ashen-faced mode, refused to be drawn, claiming that non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn had two sources for his claim. But here on Zelo Street, we knew exactly who had been leaking what to whom.
No more of these meetings for you, Oiky
As I observed at the time, “It is believed that the occasion when Her Maj and Nick Clegg had their discussion was a lunch at Windsor Castle on April 7, 2011. Also present was Michael ‘Oiky’ Gove, faithful Murdoch servant, anti-EU campaigner, and experienced leaker of information. As to who might have leaked to the Sun, well, I’ll just leave that one right there”. “Oiky” Was The One Wot Done It. And now it’s official.
The BBC has now reported “Former deputy PM Nick Clegg has told the BBC that Michael Gove was behind the Sun's ‘Queen Backs Brexit’ story … The Palace complained about the story, which quoted an anonymous source as saying the Queen had ‘let rip’ at Mr Clegg about Europe at Windsor Castle … Mr Clegg told a BBC documentary on Brexit that ‘Michael Gove obviously communicated it - well, I know he did’”.
The Beeb also tells “Former Justice Secretary Mr Gove has said: ‘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’”, which, in a plain English translation, means at least some of the Sun’s information came from him, and the talk of “adding anything to what’s already been said” is nothing more than a smokescreen, a call to “look over there”.
But Clegg has been unequivocal: “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”. Yet Gove remains a Privy Counsellor, despite his breach of protocol.
His leak to the Sun resulted in Buckingham Palace making a complaint to press regulator IPSO, which was subsequently upheld. The “QUEEN BACKS BREXIT” headline “was not supported by the text. It was significantly misleading - given that it suggested a fundamental breach of the Queen’s constitutional obligations - and represented a failure to take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information in breach of Clause 1 (i). The complaint under Clause 1 was upheld”.
It got worse for Gove: after he had knifed Bozza in the back and declared his candidature for Tory leader, a carefully planned counter-leak to the Telegraph revealed “Michael Gove has 'an emotional need to gossip, particularly when drink is taken' - why he can't be trusted with Britain's most sensitive secrets”. Now his slimy duplicity is out in the open.
Michael Gove should announce he is standing down at the next General Election. Rupe will see him right for a job, and his political career is over. This time for good.