Sajid Javid has said he does not understand why he was excluded from the state banquet for Donald Trump during last week’s state visit by the US president.
The Tory leadership hopeful said he has still not received a proper explanation of why, as home secretary, he was the only senior cabinet minister not to be invited to the dinner at Buckingham Palace.
“I don’t know. I have asked. I was just told that normally home secretaries aren’t invited. So I don’t know,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“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.”
Mr Javid has previously criticised Mr Trump after he tweeted his support for the right-wing Britain First group.
He responded that the president was endorsing the views of “a vile, hate-filled racist organisation that hates me and people like me”.
Asked if he thought his exclusion was due to his Muslim background, Javid said: “I am not saying that at all. I really don’t know.”
Royal records indicate that home secretaries are not always invited to state banquets.
While Amber Rudd was asked to the dinner held for the King and Queen of Spain in July 2017, Theresa May was not invited to those staged during the visits of the Chinese and Mexican presidents in 2015.
Jacqui Smith tweeted that the exclusion it was “V odd” and that she went to every state banquet for visiting leaders as home secretary.
Javid did meet and speak briefly with Trump during the D-Day commemorations in Portsmouth on the final day of his visit.
During the course of his stay, the US president renewed his long-running feud with London mayor Sadiq Khan – who also comes from a Muslim background – branding him a “stone cold loser”.