THE Queen was so upset by Abu Hamza’s vile hate campaign she personally intervened to ask the Government why he was still at large.
She revealed her dismay at the evil cleric’s freedom to spout his spiteful sermons on Britain’s streets to veteran BBC reporter Frank Gardner.
Recalling their conversation, the security correspondent said yesterday: “The Queen was pretty upset that there was no way to arrest him. She couldn’t understand. There was surely some law he had broken.
“She spoke to the Home Secretary at the time and said my goodness, why is he still at large?” The Queen’s controversial intervention in politics was revealed a day after the hookhanded Islamist fanatic lost his final appeal against extradition to the US.
But Gardner’s disclosures on radio yesterday quickly led to a grovelling apology by the BBC to Buckingham Palace. The Corporation said their man’s private
conversation with the Queen some years ago should never have been aired. Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, Gardner said: “I wouldn’t say she [the Queen] was necessarily lobbying, that’s not for me to say.” He then added that she was “merely voicing the views that many have”.
Her Majesty “was upset that her country and its subjects were being denigrated by this man who was using this country as a platform for his very violent, hateful views,” revealed Gardner.
Within hours, the BBC said sorry for the “wholly inappropriate” broadcast. A spokesman said: “This morning on the Today programme our correspondent Frank Gardner revealed details of a private conversation which took place some years ago with The Queen.
“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.”
David Blunkett, who was Labour Home Secretary from 2001 until 2004 while Hamza was at the height of his notoriety, yesterday denied being the minister the Queen is said to have quizzed.
His predecessor in the post, Jack Straw, said he “did not think it was him”, adding that even if it was he would not comment on the conversation.
Details of the Queen’s personal feelings on political matters are rarely aired in public as protocol dictates her conversations are kept private.
However, her intervention over Hamza won widespread praise yesterday.
Tory MP Patrick Mercer said it was a “shame” the BBC had breached her confidence but added: “It shows the Queen has absolutely got her finger on the pulse of the public who would have been asking themselves the very same question.
“This is a man who stirred up hatred and violence but lived off the state he professed to despise. She was right to ask why he was still here.
“We hear very little of the Queen’s personal views but this shows she is in touch with public opinion.”
Labour’s Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, said the Queen’s comments showed “how deeply concerned” she is for the “welfare of her subjects”.
He added: “It’s good that she has mentioned this to the Home Secretary and absolutely appropriate.”
Buckingham Palace refused to comment on the matter yesterday.
Gardner said the Queen’s upset over Hamza’s freedom was because the security services, including MI5, had wrongly dismissed the hate preacher as a “noisy troublemaker” rather than a fanatic bent on inciting violence.
In the same interview on the Today programme, guest Lawrence Whitehouse recounted meeting the Queen while picking up a posthumous award for his wife Margaret who was killed in a kidnapping in Yemen organised by Hamza in 1998.
“We went to a ceremony where she spoke quite knowledgeably and authoritatively on the events leading to my wife being killed,” he said of the monarch.
On Monday the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Hamza and four others should be extradited to the US to face terrorism charges.
It was their last possible appeal and brings an end to a legal saga which has lasted eight years and cost UK taxpayers more than £4.5million.
Home Secretary Theresa May now wants Hamza to be flown to America “as soon as possible”. His deportation is likely within the next three weeks.
Ex-nightclub bouncer Hamza spouted his bile-laden sermons outside Finsbury Park mosque in north London.
He is wanted in the US for plotting to set up a jihadi training camp in Oregon. Also facing extradition are Babar Ahmad, Talha Ahsan, Khalid al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary.