U.K.’s Sun Misled by Reporting Queen Backs Brexit, Watchdog Says

  • Press group rules March headline breached editors’ code
  • Buckingham Palace filed complaint, citing accuracy clause

The Sun, a U.K. tabloid newspaper, broke press standards with a front-page headline reading “Queen backs Brexit” after Buckingham Palace filed a complaint saying it was inaccurate, a watchdog group ruled.

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The Independent Press Standards Organisation ruled that the headline, which suggested that Queen Elizabeth II favored leaving the European Union in the U.K.’s June 23 referendum, was “significantly misleading” and breached an accuracy clause in the group’s Editors’ Code of Practice. The organization said the newspaper’s article did not breach the clause.

The Sun article, published March 8, cited a “highly reliable source” as saying the queen told former U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and other attendees at a lunch during the last parliament, which ended in 2015, that she was concerned about the E.U.’s direction. The story in The Sun, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., was disputed by Buckingham Palace, which said the queen was politically neutral. 

The Sun printed the standards group’s verdict on Wednesday. Editor Tony Gallagher, speaking on BBC Radio’s “Today” program, said the paper made no errors and its sources were accurate.

“I don’t think, were I doing this tomorrow, I would act in any way differently whatsoever,” he said.

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