Tory leadership hopeful Michael Gove has disclosed his expected meeting with US President Donald Trump on Wednesday did not go ahead.
The UK’s Environment Secretary was one of a number of contenders for the Conservative crown who had hoped to meet the president during his three-day state visit.
Appearing before the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee, Mr Gove acknowledged he was only able to secure “a few words” with him on Monday – the night of the state banquet at Buckingham Palace.
“I’m afraid I didn’t see him today,” Mr Gove said.
“I saw him on Monday evening. I had an opportunity to say a few words to the president on Monday night.”
Mr Gove’s team had previously said they had been contacted by the White House with a view to arranging a meeting during the course of the president’s stay in the UK.
Earlier, sources close to Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he had a one-to-one session with the president on Tuesday evening, while the UK’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s aides said he had a “brush-by” with him at the D-Day commemorations in Portsmouth on England’s south coast today.
Fellow leadership contender Boris Johnson also had a 20-minute phone call with Mr Trump – although they were unable to arrange a face-to-face meeting as the former foreign secretary was taking part in a Tory leadership hustings.
During his press conference with Theresa May on Tuesday, Mr Trump said he knew both Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt and thought that either man would do a good job as prime minister.
He said he did not know Mr Gove – despite the fact the Environment Secretary interviewed him for The Times shortly before his inauguration as president in 2017.
Mr Gove suggested he may have made more of an impression on the president’s wife, Melania, during their encounter on Monday.
“These occasions require people to wear evening dress,” he said.
“I had the opportunity to wear the kilt.
“It was very interesting that my wife was talking to the First Lady who was very taken with that.
“I think the president my well be placing an order for a dress Gordon tartan.”
He added jokingly: “That is another example of a successful trading relationship between the UK and America that we have brokered.”