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Ex-UK PM Cameron says he sought queen's help in Scots vote

LONDON (AP) — Former British Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged Thursday that he asked Queen Elizabeth II, who is supposed to remain politically neutral, to help the pro-"remain" side in Scotland's 2014 independence referendum.

Cameron told the BBC that he felt "panic" that the pro-secession side might win, and told the queen's private secretary that "just a raising of the eyebrow, even, you know, a quarter of an inch, we thought would make a difference."

The queen is expected to stay out of politics and rarely makes her personal views public. So she surprised many when she told well-wishers days before the referendum that Scots should "think very carefully about the future" before voting.

That was seen by some as a call for Scotland to remain part of the U.K. The pro-remain side won the vote by 55% to 45%. "I didn't ask for anything improper to be said or done" by the queen, Cameron said.

The then-prime minister was criticized when he was recorded saying after the referendum that the queen had "purred down the line" when he called to tell her the news. Cameron said he had "nothing more to say" about the matter.

"I've already said perhaps a little bit too much," he told the BBC. The 93-year-old queen has been dragged back into politics through a Supreme Court challenge to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks as the Brexit deadline approaches.

Opponents of the government claim the suspension was illegal, and accuse the prime minister of misleading the queen, whose formal approval was needed for the move.

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