Sajid Javid says he was shut out of Donald Trump state banquet

The interior minister said it was ‘odd’ to have been excluded

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 12:  British Home Secretary Sajid Javid delivers a speech as he launches his Conservative Party Leadership Campaign on June 12, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
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British home secretary and Conservative Party leadership contender Sajid Javid has expressed confusion about why he was not invited to last week's state banquet for US President Donald Trump.

Mr Javid was the only top-level Cabinet minister not to be invited to the dinner at Buckingham Palace, sparking speculation that his previous comments about Mr Trump’s Twitter activity may have been behind the snub.

“I don’t know,” he told the BBC. “I’ve asked… but I was just told normally home secretaries aren’t invited.”

Mr Javid responded angrily to the US president retweeting a post from far-right group Britain First in 2017.

His tweet, written during his tenure as minister for communities, said Mr Trump had “endorsed the views of a vile, hate-filled racist organisation that hates me and people like me”.

“I refuse to let it go and say nothing,” he wrote.

Asked if his Muslim background may be behind the lack of invite, Mr Javid replied: “No, I’m not saying that at all, but I really don’t know.”

Former Labour Secretary of State Jacqui Smith weighed in on the idea that home secretaries are not ordinarily invited, writing on Twitter : “I went to every state banquet for visiting leaders as Home Secretary”.

Mr Javid's predecessor as home secretary, Amber Rudd, also attended state banquets for foreign leaders during her term in office.

However, participation isn’t guaranteed. In 2011 Mrs May herself, then in charge of the Home Office, did not attend a State Banquet for Barack Obama.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said the banquet was hosted by the Queen and “it would not be appropriate to discuss in public who did or did not ask to attend.”

The home secretary made the comments shortly before the first round of voting in the Conservative leadership contest.

Mr Javid came out fifth in the vote, with 23 votes. Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson streaked ahead with 114.