Was Michael Gove present at the Queen’s ‘Brexit’ lunch?

Was Michael Gove present at the Queen's 'Brexit' lunch?
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Today's Sun claims on its front page that the Queen backs Brexit. The paper reports that the Queen clashed with Nick Clegg, who was then Deputy Prime Minister, over Europe at a lunch in 2011. During a heated discussion on the EU, Her Majesty is reported to have declared that the EU was 'heading in the wrong direction'.

While Clegg has said on Twitter that the story is ‘nonsense’, the Sun claim that a 'highly reliable source' says otherwise. So, who else was at the lunch? As the BBC's Nick Sutton points out, a look through the court circular suggests there was only one lunch Nick Clegg attended with the Queen in 2011.

At that lunch, Brexit-backing Michael Gove -- who attended Rupert Murdoch's wedding over the weekend -- was in attendance, alongside his Brexit comrade Cheryl Gillan, Lord McNally and Judith Simpson, who attended as clerk of the council.

[caption id="attachment_9409772" align="aligncenter" width="520"]CourtCircular (Credit: Nick Sutton)[/caption]

While it is not know for certain whether it was this lunch where the conversation allegedly occurred, Mr S would be surprised if the pair had shared more lunches that year. After all, Clegg has a reputation for snubbing the Queen. When the Telegraph reported in 2013 that Clegg had missed a fourth meeting of the Privy Council — one of his aides gave an angry defence of the then Liberal Democrat leader:

‘I can’t believe we are having this f—— conversation again. The f—– fact is he can’t f—— be everywhere, but I know you are going to go off and write that the DPM has f—— snubbed the Queen once a f—— gain.’

Perhaps we now have a hint as to why Clegg made such a habit of avoiding Her Majesty's company.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from London and beyond. Email tips to

Topics in this articlePoliticsnick cleggthe queen