Liam Fox keeps his counsel as cabinet colleagues stand up to Donald Trump
The international trade secretary was 'unable to comment' on the president's controversial retweeting.
Twenty-four hours after Donald Trump thought it was a good idea to retweet far right propaganda from a British wannabe politician facing charges of causing religiously aggravated harassment, cabinet ministers have expressed varying degrees of condemnation.
On Twitter, Sajid Javid issued the strongest condemnation by a cabinet minister – and was retweeted by health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The communities secretary stated: “So POTUS has endorsed the views of a vile, hate-filled racist organisation that hates me and people like me. He is wrong and I refuse to let it go and say nothing.”
After Theresa May authorised her official spokesman say that the president’s actions were “wrong”, Amber Rudd held the line in the Commons today.
"President Donald Trump was wrong to retweet videos posted by far-right group Britain First," said the home secretary, sounding like she meant it.
On the Today programme, Justine Greening took the same approach of condemning Trump without adding more fuel to the fire.
“I don’t agree with the tweet President Trump has made, but I have to say I also believe it should not distract from the agenda we have domestically and I don’t believe it should detract from the close relationship the UK has had for many, many years and will go on to have with America and the American people,” said the education secretary.
More cautious was Boris Johnson. The foreign secretary – who recently called Trump one “of the great huge global brands” –decided it might be best not to refer directly to the president.
"Britain First is a divisive, hateful group whose views are not in line with our values. UK has a proud history as an open, tolerant society & hate speech has no place here,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, one cabinet minister who is desperate to boost the UK’s trade relationship with the US appeared to have made the decision to say nothing at all. A representative for Liam Fox told the Evening Standard: “I am so sorry but Dr Fox is overseas and unable to comment.”
A few hours later, international trade secretary decided to put out a late statement: "I fully endorse the comments the prime minister has made on behalf of the government."