Aamer Kayani – Resident Editor UK
Although English media reported that Downing Street denied snubbing Pakistani origin UK home secretary Sajid Javid over the Buckingham Palace banquet during US president Donald Trump’s state visit but Javid have been cited to say that not being invited to Buckingham Palace dinner during Trump visit was ‘odd’.
It is worth mentioning that home secretary Sajid Javid was the only senior cabinet minister who did not receive an invitation for the event.
Sajid Javid , who is running to be Conservative party leader said on the other day it was odd that he didn’t receive an invitation for the event whereas as many as eight ministers have attended the event. Javid told the media that he had asked for an invitation but was told “an invite doesn’t always go to home secretaries”.
While talking to BBC, Sajid Javid expressed, “I don’t like it. It is odd . . . I’ve asked, just been told that normally home secretaries aren’t invited,”.
Baroness Warsi, who was the first Muslim cabinet minister has been cited to express in English media, “Worrying if foreign countries start telling us who is and isn’t acceptable based on origins and background.”
Financial Times (FT) London cited that a spokesperson for Prime Minister Theresa May said the event was hosted by the Queen, who was in charge of the guest list. “But as with any state banquet, only a limited number of places are available to the government. A large number of ministers who expressed a wish to attend were not able to do so.”
According to the newspaper, ministers attending the banquet included a “fixed list” for the three other so-called great offices of state: prime minister, chancellor and foreign secretary, as well as the minister for the Americas. Buckingham Palace and Downing Street conferred to decide the other attendees.
There is a mixed record of home secretaries attending state banquets. Jacqui Smith, who served as home secretary from 2007 to 2009, said she “went to every state banquet for visiting leaders as home secretary”.
The FT said that Sajid Javid’s predecessor Amber Rudd attended a banquet for the King of Spain in 2017. But Mrs May did not attend during President Barack Obama’s state visit in 2011.
The paper pointed out there was speculation that Sajid Javid was not invited to the banquet due to his criticism of Trump and his frosty relationship with the prime minister, adding that Javid had called out the US president for sharing tweets from the British far-right party Britain First in 2017. A Number 10 spokesperson denied that the White House or US embassy had any involvement in drawing up the list.
Downing Street also said it was “categorically untrue” that Sajid Javid was not invited due to his Muslim background. “The PM was proud to appoint the first Muslim home secretary,” the spokesperson said.
The FT said in its report that some MPs have suggested that Sajid Javid was not invited due to his policy differences with Mrs May. “The prime minister wanted to sack Sajid before Windrush,” said one supporter, referring to the scandal involving migrants from the Caribbean. “He is the only one who challenges her in a bolshie way in cabinet, whether it’s on immigration or student numbers.”
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