The BBC has apologised to the Queen after Frank Gardner told BBC Radio 4 details of a private conversation in which the monarch revealed she had raised concerns with ministers about radical cleric Abu Hamza.
The security correspondent told listeners on BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the Queen had “expressed her own concerns over the Abu Hamza affair to the previous Labour government”, according to this report on the BBC website.
The report continued:
He revealed that the Queen had told him in at a private meeting how she had been pretty upset that Abu Hamza could not be arrested. He said the Queen had told him she had spoken to a former home secretary about the case.
In a letter to Buckingham Palace, the BBC says that the conversation should have remained private and the BBC and Gardner deeply regretted the breach of confidence.
The letter adds that the revelations were "wholly inappropriate" and that Gardner was extremely sorry for the embarrassment caused and had apologised.
Writing on Twitter, former Scotsman and BBC editor Tim Luckhurst, a Professor of Journalism at the University of Kent, said the corporations apology looked “alarmingly like deference”:
The BBC's position looks alarmingly like deference bbc.co.uk/news/uk-197169… Journalists should not defer to elites
— Tim Luckhurst (@TCHL) September 25, 2012
Journalist Rob McGibbon said:
I wouldn't want to be Frank Gardner today. The Queen, what a contact to turn over. What a source. Gotta be hack gaff of the year.
— Rob McGibbon (@robmcgibbon) September 25, 2012