Sun editor Tony Gallagher today defiantly said IPSO and The Queen were wrong and he was right over a front-page headline saying “The Queen backs Brexit”.
The 8 March story was based on anonymous sources quoting comments the Queen allegedly made at a private lunch in 2011.
Press watchdog IPSO upheld a complaint from the Queen that the headline (rather than the article) was inaccurate. It said the front-page assertion of fact was not backed up by the article itself and ordered The Sun to public a critical adjudication on page two.
Speaking on Radio 4 today, Sun editor Gallagher said the Queen’s complaint was only upheld because it did not take into account the qualifying strapline on the Sun front page which said: “Exclusive: Bombshell claim on Europe vote”.
He also said that Buckingham Palace withdrew its complaint about the text of the article itself when it became clear that aspect would not be upheld.
He said: “I don’t accept that we made an error at all. We made a judgement that the headline was right and that it was backed up by the story.
“We knew more than we put in the public domain. The sources were so impeccable that we had no choice to run the story in the way we did.”
Asked whether he accepted that he had made a mistake, he said: “In all conscience I don’t. I don’t think, were we doing this again tomorrow, I would do it in any way differently at all.
“We would be better off packing up and going home as journalists if we don’t put these things in the public domain.”
In March The Sun was censured by IPSO over another “significantly misleading” front-page headline. This time it inaccurately stated: “1 in 5 Brit Muslims’ sympathy for jihadis”.
Gallagher said: “In terms of adverse IPSO judgements we are some way behind a number of other national newspaper groups.”