Her Majesty the Queen is apparently backing the idea of Britain leaving the European Union (EU), according to a source cited by the Sun newspaper on Tuesday evening.
The Queen, who usually stays out of day-to-day politics in the United Kingdom, is believed to have “let rip” at the former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at a private meeting at Windsor Castle during the last parliament.
The Sun reports:
THE Queen has been hailed as a backer of Brexit tonight after details emerged of an extraordinary alleged bust-up between her and Nick Clegg over Europe.
Her Majesty let rip at the then Deputy PM during a lunch at Windsor Castle, The Sun has been told.
The 89-year-old monarch firmly told passionate pro-European Mr Clegg that she believed the EU was heading in the wrong direction.
Her stinging reprimand went on for “quite a while”, leaving other guests around the table stunned.
The account of the bombshell lunch during the last government – which a handful of other government ministers also attended – has been relayed to The Sun by a highly reliable source.
The senior source said: “People who heard their conversation were left in no doubt at all about the Queen’s views on European integration.
“It was really something, and it went on for quite a while.
“The EU is clearly something Her Majesty feels passionately about.”
The monarch is also said to have revealed her Eurosceptic feelings during a separate conversation with MPs at a Buckingham Palace reception.
One of a group of Parliamentarians in a circle with her at the time asked Her Majesty for her thoughts on Brussels.
The Queen is said to have snapped back angrily: “I don’t understand Europe”.
A parliamentary source, who relayed the remark to The Sun, said: “It was said with quite some venom and emotion. I shall never forget it”.
Buckingham Palace’s spokesmen have distanced themselves from the story however – as is usual when the details of private conversations are leaked. They told the Sun: “The Queen remains politically neutral, as she has for 63 years. We would never comment on spurious, anonymously sourced claims. The referendum will be a matter for the British people.”
And former Deputy PM Nick Clegg tersely responded: “I have absolutely no recollection of it. I don’t have a photographic memory. But 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. But I really can’t remember it at all. Anyway, without sounding pompous, I find it rather distasteful to reveal conversations with the Queen.”
Mr. Clegg previously lost two, major, televised debates on Britain’s membership of the European Union. He took on the UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage in successive debates, losing twice to the anti-EU firebrand.
Brexit (British exit) campaigners have naturally welcomed the news.