Sajid Javid hits out at Number 10 over President Trump state banquet snub
Sajid Javid has hit out at Downing Street after he was not invited to attend a state banquet for President Trump.
The Home Secretary said the snub was "odd" given that other senior ministers, including Liam Fox and Michael Gove, did go to the lavish event at Buckingham Palace earlier this month.
The Tory leadership hopeful, who has previously slammed President Trump for endorsing tweets from the far-right Britain First group, told Radio Four's Today programme he had no idea why he did not receive an invitation.
He 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."
His comments come after The Muslim Council of Britain wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May to question the circumstances around Mr Javid's exclusion.
"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", they said.
"We are all aware of the Islamophobia that President Trump has propogated and tolerated at the highest levels of his administration, both in rhetoric and policy."
Meanwhile, the group also accused the Conservative Party of a "fundamental failure" in tackling anti-Muslim discrimination after over two dozen members were suspended earlier this year for making Islamophobic remarks.
But speaking at his leadership campaign launch on Wednesday, Mr Javid said he would welcome an external probe of the claims, saying the party had "nothing to hide".
"I wouldn't say from what I have seen and my own experience and from what I know, that there is a real sort of particular issue in the Conservative Party with hate crime," he said.
"But it is absolutely essential that whenever we come across someone that does something that any one of us in this room would find completely unacceptable and they say something, that firm action is being taken and that's what always happens.
"I would be very happy for some externally - an organisation - to come and take a look as well and try and give some further, external reassurance, because I think we have got nothing to hide."
A Downing Street spokesperson said at the time: "The invitations to the state banquet were organised and led by Buckingham Palace."