Tory leadership contender Sajid Javid has spoken of his annoyance and bewilderment that he was not invited to the state dinner held in honour of the American president Donald Trump during his recent visit to the UK.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, Javid, the home secretary, said he hadn’t received an adequate explanation from the prime minister’s office as to why he was the only senior cabinet minister not to attend the Buckingham Palace event.
The position of home secretary is considered one of the great offices of state, alongside chancellor of the exchequer and foreign secretary,
However more junior cabinet ministers such as Penny Mordaunt (defence) and the international trade secretary Liam Fox attended the dinner.
“I don’t know [why I wasn’t invited]. I have asked. I was just told that normally home secretaries aren’t invited. So I don’t know,” he told presenter Mishal Husain.
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“I don’t like it. It is odd. My office did ask No 10 and they said ‘no’. You’d have to ask someone from No 10 why they made that decision.”
The home secretary had criticised Trump in the past, especially after the president retweeted messages from the far-right group Britain First.
Asked at the time, he said that the president was endorsing the views of “a vile, hate-filled racist organisation that hates me and people like me”.
When it was suggested by Husain that the snub had come about because of Javid’s Muslim background, Mr Javid said: “I am not saying that at all. I really don’t know.”
During his stay in the UK, Mr Trump had renewed his long-running feud with London Mayor Sadiq Khan – who also comes from a Muslim background – branding him a “stone cold loser”.
Invitations to state banquets are issued by the Queen at the direction of the prime minister of the day, so there is no specific convention that precludes the home secretary being invited.
V odd. I went to every state banquet for visiting leaders as Home Secretary https://t.co/odEMlbBWh4— Jacqui Smith (@Jacqui_Smith1) June 13, 2019
And former Labour home secretary Jacqui Smith tweeted that during her tenure in the position she had been invited to attend every state banquet for visiting leaders.