UK Home Secretary and Tory leadership contender Sajid Javid has called him not receiving an invitation to the state banquet for President Donald Trump “odd”, adding that he “did not like it” in a conversation with BBC’s Radio 4.
He explained that he had requested an explanation from Number 10 to which they simply replied “No”.
The lavish state dinner was hosted by the Queen on the 3 June and was attended by members of the cabinet
This event was a centrepiece of Trump’s official visit to the UK, and of the most important figures in British and American politics and business were in attendance.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said that invitations were limited and it would not be appropriate to discuss who was asked to attend the dinner at Buckingham Palace.
Number 10 had apparently told Mr Javid that invitations “don’t always” get sent to home secretaries.
However the first women to hold the office, Jacqui Smith, has rebutted this suggestion, saying that she attended every state banquet during her tenure as home secretary.
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
The home secretary had previously criticised President Trump in 2017 for retweeting a post from the group “Britain First’, accusing the president of endorsing a "vile hate-filled organisation that hates me and people like me".
However, when asked if he believed if he had been slighted due to his Islamic faith he said: "I am not saying that at all. I really don't know."
What I don't quite understand about this is that the State Banquet is at the Queen's invitation. #SajidJavid holds one of the Great Offices of State: he is Her Majesty's Home Secretary. Why would the Palace acquiesce to Trump's pettiness? Why wouldn't they insist that he attend? https://t.co/QH38bNxS1m— Adrian Hilton (@Adrian_Hilton) June 13, 2019
BBC corresponded Ross Hawkins pointed out that Amber Rudd had been invited to a state banquet for the King of Spain in 2017 and that Javid himself had attended the state dinner for President Xi Jinping of China in 2015.
Sajid Javid was invited to the Chinese state visit banquet in 2015. So why not the Trump one? His current job higher up pecking order than his old one pic.twitter.com/dSuksaPj82— Ross Hawkins (@rosschawkins) June 13, 2019
Some critics joked that Mr Javid’s signing of the US extradition order for Julian Assange might win him favour to be invited to the next state banquet.
Sajid Javid signs US extradition order for Julian Assange.https://t.co/KaeG3oAVJs— Michael Smith (@albionau) June 13, 2019
Great decision (!?). Maybe Javid will now get an invitation to the next Trump banquet
Others called out the home secretary for his selective attitude...
It's a shame that Ruth's pal Sajid Javid doesn't get anywhere near as motivated at his govt's treatment of chronically ill and disabled people. Yet he clutches his pearls over being denied an invitation to an opulent banquet. Priorities! https://t.co/vYruZkGJwB— Rob McDowall (@robmcd85) June 13, 2019
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Speaker of the House John Bercow, Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Vince Cable, and Westminster leader of the SNP Ian Blackford all refused to attend the event.
Mr Corbyn, who later addressed protestors in London against Trump's visit, refused on the grounds that the UK should not “rolling out the red carpet “ for a president who used “racist and misogynist” rhetoric.
However, he did offer a separate meeting with President Trump to discuss “all matters of interest” - an offer which Trump declined.
Since the resignation of Theresa May, Sajid Javid has entered the race to replace her as Tory leader, which would make him the first Muslim prime minister of the UK.