Queen's Questions

Queen's 'Private' Comments on Hamza revealed

Bang goes the knighthood.

A BBC presenter has been forced to issue a groveling apology after he went on the radio this morning and revealed that the Queen was so 'upset' about the hook-handed radical cleric Abu Hamza – who is to be deported to America following a landmark ruling in Europe yesterday - that she asked a former Home Secretary to explain why he couldn't be arrested.

The BBC's security correspondent, Frank Gardner, told the Today radio program this morning that the Queen had spoken to him in 2004 of her frustration that Abu Hamza could not be arrested. The Queen told Gardner that she had spoken to the Home Secretary about the case.

Mr Gardner said the Queen was not lobbying the government but was “merely voicing the views that many have”.

Speaking on the Today programme this morning Gardner said: “The Queen was pretty upset that there was no way to arrest him. She couldn’t understand – surely there must be some law that he broke...she was upset that her country and its subjects were being denigrated by this man.”

A panel of five judges yesterday ruled that there would be no violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights - the prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment - as a result of detention conditions Hamza might face at ADX Florence “supermax” prison in Colorado.

Hamza is wanted over allegations he established a terrorist training camp in the US along with claims that he was involved in the taking of 16 hostages in Yemen in 1998, advocating violent jihad in Afghanistan in 2001 and conspiring to establish a jihad training camp in Bly, Oregon, between June 2000 and December 2001.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the claims and the BBC has now issued an apology for revealing the Queen's intervention.

“This morning on the Today program our correspondent Frank Gardner revealed details of a private conversation which took place some years ago with The Queen,” a BBC spokesman said.

“The conversation should have remained private and the BBC and Frank deeply regret this breach of confidence. It was wholly inappropriate. Frank is extremely sorry for the embarrassment caused and has apologised to the Palace.”