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Sat, 15 August 2020

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Downing Street denies Sajid Javid's religion was reason for Trump state banquet snub

Downing Street denies Sajid Javid's religion was reason for Trump state banquet snub
2 min read

Downing Street has denied that Sajid Javid was not invited to a state banquet for Donald Trump because he is a Muslim.

Former Tory co-chair Baroness Warsi made the incendiary claim after the Home Secretary said it was "odd" that he had missed out when less senior Cabinet ministers did attend.

Mr Javid was one of a number of ministers who asked Downing Street if they could go to the plush dinner, which was held at Buckingham Palace earlier this month.

Speaking on Radio Four's Today programme, the Tory leadership hopeful said: "I have asked, but I have just got, I was told that normally Home Secretaries aren't invited, so I don't know.

"I don't like it ... it is odd. My office did ask Number 10 and they said no, so you'd have to ask someone from Number 10 why they made that decision."

Pressed on whether he thought his Muslim heritage had been behind the snub, Mr Javid said: "No, I am not saying that at all. I really don't know.

"I have just been told ... that an invite doesn't always go to Home Secretaries."

Baroness Warsi, who has been highly critical of her party's response to Islamophobia allegations, took to Twitter to express her anger and suggest Mr Javid's background had played a part in the decision.

She added: "To use my own phrase from 2011: “Islamophobia has passed the dinner table test”."

But the Prime Minister's spokesman said Baroness Warsi's claims were "categorically untrue".

He added: “The Prime Minister is proud to have appointed Sajid Javid as the country’s first Muslim Home Secretary."

The spokesman said "only a limited number of places" were made available to the Government, of which some were reserved for the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and Chancellor.

"A large number of ministers who expressed a wish to attend were not able to do so," he added.

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