Grayling rules out Government probe into whether Gove leaked Queen's comments at Privy Council lunch to The Sun - Press Gazette

Grayling rules out Government probe into whether Gove leaked Queen's comments at Privy Council lunch to The Sun

Lord President of the Privy Council Chris Grayling MP has ruled out holding a Government investigation into claims Justice Secretary Michael Gove leaked allegedly Eurosceptic comments made by the Queen to The Sun.

The Queen is currently pursuing a complaint via the Independent Press Complaints Organisation over The Sun 'QUEEN BACKS BREXIT' front page.

Grayling yesterday repeatedly stressed in the Commons that Nick Clegg, his predecessor as Lord President, had labelled the story as "categorically untrue", adding: "It is therefore a matter for the press complaints body and not a matter for anybody in this House or in the Government."

The issue was raised in the Commons yesterday as an urgent question by Labour deputy leader Tom Watson.

Grayling said: "As you said in your remarks, last week a national newspaper published a story allegedly based on a conversation that took place at a lunch following a Privy Council meeting.

"However my predecessor, the then-lord president, (Nick Clegg), has said very clearly that the story was categorically untrue.

"As the House is aware, Buckingham Palace has referred the matter to IPSO, the new press complaints body. It is now investigating the story.

"Given all of this, I do not believe that there is any need for further action here."

Gove has refused to rule out being the source of the story, telling reporters: ''I don't know how The Sun got all of its information."

Watson urged Gove to categorically confirm or deny whether he was the source and to resign or face the sack if he or his "special adviser or ally" leaked the story, saying: "Surely any member of the Privy Council who was a source of this story, or whose special adviser or ally was, stands in contempt of his Privy Council oath and should be removed from office if he won't honourably resign himself."

Tom Brake, the Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington, asked Grayling: "Would the Leader of the House agree with me that when it comes to serial offenders one of the most effective forms of reparation for victims is restorative justice where the offender apologises directly to the victim.

"Does the Leader support the principles of restorative justice?"

Grayling replied: "I support the principles of justice. I also support the principle that people are innocent unless proven guilty."

Former defence secretary Liam Fox said the urgent question was a "poorly disguised" example of Labour trying to "play the man and not the ball".

He stressed that Privy Council conversations took place under Privy Council and not Parliamentary rules.

Grayling replied: "You are absolutely right but it is worth saying that the conversation that is alleged to have taken place, which the former Lord President said did not take place, actually did not take place at a Privy Council meeting."