Now that Michael Gove has returned to the backbenches, the former Justice Secretary can take heart that his new role will at least save him some awkward meetings, say for example, with the Queen. In an upcoming BBC documentary on Brexit, Nick Clegg blames Gove for the Sun’s ‘the Queen backs Brexit’ splash.
Published in March, the paper reported that the Queen clashed with Nick Clegg — then Deputy Prime Minister — over Europe at a lunch in 2011 at which Her Majesty declared the EU was ‘heading in the wrong direction’. Although Gove has previously denied being behind the story — which the palace complained to Ipso about — Clegg would care to disagree. In the documentary, the former deputy Prime Minister says that he knows it was Gove:
‘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.’
Of course, if the Queen really never said it at the aforementioned lunch, it would be difficult for Clegg to know for certain who leaked the ‘nonsense’ quotes.