- Sajid Javid says it was “odd” that he was blocked from attending the recent state banquet with Donald Trump.
- The Home Secretary, who is from a Muslim background, was the only senior cabinet minister not to receive an invite.
- Javid says he asked Downing Street why he had been blocked and was told that Home Secretaries aren’t usually invited.
- Muslim groups have accused the UK government of pandering to racism by failing to invite Javid.
- Visit Business Insider’s home page for more stories.
LONDON – Sajid Javid says he was blocked by Downing Street from attending the recent state banquet with Donald Trump, despite all other senior members of Theresa May’s Cabinet being invited.
The Home Secretary, who is from a Muslim background, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on Thursday it was “odd” that he hadn’t been invited even though more junior members of the Cabinet were asked to attend.
“I don’t like it for the reason you have just said,” Javid told the programme.
“It is odd. My office did ask Number 10 [the prime minister’s office] and they said no, so you would have to ask somebody from Number 10 why they made that decision.”
Asked whether he believed he was blocked because of his background and Trump’s views about Muslims, he replied: “No I’m not saying that at all. I really don’t know. I haven’t got an answer.”
Other senior cabinet ministers present at the banquet with the US President included Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor Philip Hammond, Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt, and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox.
Last week the Muslim Council wrote to the prime minister, criticising the decision to exclude Javid, who is currently running to replace May as prime minister.
“There are fears that our nation is willing to give up on our principles of fairness and equality for all, in order to placate President Trump, even going so far as to exclude our home secretary solely due to his Muslim heritage,” Harun Khan, the secretary general of the MCB, wrote.
A spokesperson for the prime minister said on Thursday: “This was a state banquet hosted by her majesty by the Queen. I don’t think it’s appropriate to discuss who did or didn’t attend.”
They added: “Only a limited number of places were available.”
Javid had previously criticised the president for appearing to endorse the far-right group Britain First.
In 2017, Javid tweeted that “POTUS has endorsed the views of a vile, hate-filled racist organisation that hates me and people like me. He is wrong and I refuse to let it go and say nothing.”
However, he is not the only senior Conservative politician to have previously publicly lambasted Trump.
When the current frontrunner to become the UK’s next prime minister, Boris Johnson, was Mayor of London, he labelled Trump “stupefyingly ignorant” and “unfit to hold the office of President of the United States.”
Trump has since gone on to all but endorse Johnson for prime minister.
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