Queen's fury at David Cameron's boast: Palace hits out after former Prime Minister claims he urged Her Majesty to intervene in Scotland independence poll

  • Former PM suggested Queen could boost case for Scotland to remain in the UK
  • He revealed he had discussions with Royal Household during the 2014 campaign
  • Cameron caused Her Majesty ‘an amount of displeasure’ with claim, says source
  • Former aide to Cameron denied he had made the revelation to promote his book

David Cameron angered the Queen yesterday after boasting that he leaned on her to intervene in the Scottish independence referendum.

In an unprecedented royal rebuke last night, Palace officials said that the former prime minister had caused Her Majesty ‘an amount of displeasure’ with his claim.

A royal source told the Mail: ‘Make no mistake, they are furious about this.’

The Prime Minister has already angered Her Majesty yesterday (pictured together at Balmoral in 2013) and has now said the Queen drove at 'breakneck speed' around the Scottish estate

A senior royal source said the suggestion there was an ‘amount of displeasure’ at Buckingham Palace over Mr Cameron’s claims was ‘not unfair’. The former PM boasted that he leaned on her to intervene in the Scottish independence referendum

It came after Mr Cameron revealed, in a TV documentary to promote his memoirs, that he held discussions with the Royal household during the referendum campaign and suggested the Queen could boost the case for Scotland to remain in the UK. 

He suggested that even a ‘raising of the eyebrow’ would make a difference.

The revelation immediately triggered a political row, with the Scottish National Party crying foul over Mr Cameron’s attempt to ‘manipulate the head of state’ during the bitterly fought referendum battle.

Within a few hours, the former prime minister was left embarrassed after Palace sources made clear there was intense irritation at his decision to breach the protocol governing conversations with the Queen and her senior advisors, conversations which prime ministers are expected to take to the grave.

The apparently neutral comment was widely reported as a clear sign that she opposed the break-up of her kingdom. Yesterday, the SNP seized on Mr Cameron’s claim as evidence of foul play during the 2014 poll

The apparently neutral comment was widely reported as a clear sign that she opposed the break-up of her kingdom. Yesterday, the SNP seized on Mr Cameron’s claim as evidence of foul play during the 2014 poll

The row was the result of a BBC documentary timed to coincide with the release of the former prime minister’s memoirs. 

In it Mr Cameron claimed the Queen was approached during the closing stages of the Scottish referendum when polls suggested the independence campaign could win.

Mr Cameron said: ‘I remember conversations I had with my private secretary and he had with the Queen’s private secretary and I had with the Queen’s private secretary, not asking for anything that would be in any way improper or unconstitutional, but just a raising of the eyebrow, even, you know, a quarter of an inch, we thought would make a difference.’

Mr Cameron (in the BBC documentary, above) claimed the Queen was approached during the closing stages of the Scottish referendum when polls suggested the independence campaign could win

Mr Cameron (in the BBC documentary, above) claimed the Queen was approached during the closing stages of the Scottish referendum when polls suggested the independence campaign could win

A week later, the Queen told a well-wisher near Balmoral that she hoped ‘people would think very carefully about the future’ before casting their votes. 

The apparently neutral comment was widely reported as a clear sign that she opposed the break-up of her kingdom. 

Yesterday, the SNP seized on Mr Cameron’s claim as evidence of foul play during the 2014 poll.

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond said: ‘Begging a constitutional monarch to make a political intervention is not only totally improper, but an indication of how desperate Cameron was in the final stages of the campaign.’

Jeremy Corbyn also said Mr Cameron appeared to have acted ‘improperly’. Constitutional expert Robert Hazell accused Mr Cameron of ‘blabbing’ about the Queen to promote his book. 

‘His previous career was in PR and this is a classic PR stunt,’ he said.

Professor Hazell, of University College London’s constitution unit, said the revelation was potentially damaging to the Queen’s reputation for neutrality.

Mr Cameron is pictured with his son Arthur and daughter Nancy and Geoerge Osborne when the referendum result was declared five years ago

The revelation immediately triggered a political row, with the Scottish National Party crying foul over Mr Cameron’s attempt to ‘manipulate the head of state’ during the bitterly fought referendum battle. Cameron is pictured with his son Arthur and daughter Nancy when the referendum result was declared

He said: ‘The Queen has been a model of neutrality. This is the first occasion I can remember that that might have slipped a little bit, so I can understand her displeasure.’

Five years ago Mr Cameron had to apologise to the Queen after boasting she had ‘purred down the line’ after he called her to tell her Scotland had voted No to independence. He yesterday said that had been a ‘terrible mistake’. 

And when asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to expand on his claim that he had persuaded the Queen to intervene in the referendum he said: ‘I am sure some people think – possibly even me – that I have already said too much.’

Yesterday, a senior royal source said the suggestion there was an ‘amount of displeasure’ at Buckingham Palace over Mr Cameron’s claims was ‘not unfair’.

A second source said: ‘For her former prime minister to discuss their talks like this is unprecedented and will be seen as a betrayal of his office, I’m afraid.’

Baroness Fall, a former aide to Mr Cameron, denied he had made the revelation to promote his book, adding: ‘I don’t think he meant to embarrass anybody – least of all the Queen.’

Palace hits out after former PM claims he urged Queen to intervene in Scotland independence poll

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