Nicola Sturgeon debunks Cathy Newman’s Queen claim

Nicola Sturgeon, left, took to Twitter to clarify comments made in an article by Channel 4 presenter Cathy Newman. Pictures: Hemedia/Getty

Nicola Sturgeon, left, took to Twitter to clarify comments made in an article by Channel 4 presenter Cathy Newman. Pictures: Hemedia/Getty

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NICOLA Sturgeon has taken to Twitter to clarify comments made in an article by Channel 4 presenter Cathy Newman, in which she implied the First Minister had ‘refused to take an oath of allegiance’ to the Queen in 1999.

The SNP leader was responding to an article on the Telegraph’s website written by Ms Newman, with the headline: “The Queen vs The Queen of Scots: Is Nicola Sturgeon’s crown about to slip?”

In the article, written in response to claims that proposals to transfer further powers to Holyrood would result in Scotland reducing financial support for the Monarchy , states: “And Sturgeon herself has been unambiguous about her antipathy towards the Queen, refusing to take an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty when she was first elected as an MSP in 1999.”

But Ms Sturgeon tweeted Ms Newman to correct her, writing: “I did not refuse to take an oath of allegiance in 1999. The affirmation which I made contains the oath of allegiance.

“The difference between the oath and affirmation is not the reference to HM Queen. The difference is the religious element.”

Ms Sturgeon also took Ms Newman to task over her reporting of the story, which the Scottish Government has denied.

A senior Buckingham Palace source briefed a number of newspapers claiming that Holyrood was planning on retaining the profits raised by the Crown Estate in Scotland, amounting to nearly £1.5 million.

Part of the Crown Estate will be passed over to the Scottish Government as part of a new act which comes into force in 2016.

But as per the terms of the Sovereign Grant Act, passed in 2011, Holyrood has no control over the amount of money given to the Queen each year and devolution of Crown Estate control would not change this.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “Scotland will continue to make the same financial contribution to the monarchy as at present - there will be no reduction in the Sovereign Grant as a result of devolution of the Crown Estate.”

And a UK Treasury spokesman added: “Scottish taxpayers will continue to fund a full and fair share of the Sovereign Grant, paid via the Consolidated Fund. The Grant will not be adversely affected by devolution.”

The article has since been updated to reflect Ms Sturgeon’s comments on Twitter, and Ms Newman and Ms Sturgeon appear to have buried the hatchet.

Several fellow users commented on the civility of the exchange, with one tweeting: “Want to see how to clarify something on Twitter firmly but completely respectfully? Look at exchange between @NicolaSturgeon and @cathynewman” while another tweeter added: “Liked seeing polite royal funding row between two powerful women.”

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