Queen asked Home Secretary why Abu Hamza could not be arrested

BBC correspondent reveals that the Queen was 'upset', but has to apologise for breaking her confidence

Column LAST UPDATED AT 13:30 ON Tue 25 Sep 2012

THE QUEEN intervened in the case of the 'preacher of hate' Abu Hamza to ask the Home Secretary why he had not been arrested, it has emerged.

The revelation came this morning from Frank Gardner, the BBC's respected security correspondent, following the landmark ruling of the European Court of Human Rights that Hamza could be sent to the US for trial.

It is highly unusual for the Queen's personal views to become known, and rare for details of her attempts to intervene with her ministers to be revealed. An embarrassed BBC has already sent a letter of apology to Buckingham palace, saying the revelations were "wholly inappropriate" and that Gardner was extremely sorry.

The revelation came during a discussion between Gardner and James Naughtie on Radio 4's Today programme about the long legal fight to extradite Abu Hamza. Gardner said the Queen had been so "upset" about the Islamist extremist being allowed to preach his message of hate in the UK that she had asked a former Home Secretary to explain why he was still at large.

Hamza and four other terrorism suspects are facing extradition to America within days after they had their case against removal from Britain thrown out by the ECHR yesterday.

Gardner revealed today that the Queen told him of her frustration at Hamza remaining at liberty in Britain before he was charged with offences under the Terrorism Act in October 2004.

"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," the BBC correspondent said.

"Well, sure enough there was. He was eventually convicted and sentenced to seven years for soliciting murder and racial hatred."

Gardner added: "She spoke to the Home Secretary at the time and said, 'surely this man must have broken some laws, my goodness, why is he still at large?'

"Because he was conducting these radical activities, he called Britain a toilet, he was incredibly anti-British, and yet he was sucking up money from this country for a long time. He was a huge embarrassment to Muslims, who condemned him."

Asked how he knew about the Queen's views on Hamza, Gardner said simply: "She told me."

James Naughtie was clearly taken aback by Gardner's revelation, saying he had dropped a 'nugget' into the conversation about Hamza. Buckingham Palace declined to comment. · 

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Our Queen is as entitled as anyone else to ask such a fundamental question! Indeed - WHY was he not arrested? Craven political correctness and undue observance paid to European edicts has been the reason.

The Queen (and her family) should have the same rights in this matter as anyone else. I don't see that should include a special right to privacy.