Chancellor Sajid Javid has criticised Hugh Grant after the Hollywood star refused to shake his hand at a film premiere.
The politician, 49, said Grant, 59, had been “incredibly rude” at a glitzy event for Martin Scorsese’s new film The Irishman.
He told ES Magazine: “I recognised him and put my hand out and said, ‘Lovely to meet you’, and you know what he does? He refuses to shake my hand.
“He says, ‘I am not shaking your hand’. I am completely shocked.
“He said, ‘When you were culture secretary you didn’t support my friends in (anti-media intrusion campaign) Hacked Off.’
“I think that is incredibly rude.
“I wonder if people like Hugh Grant think they are part of the elite and they look down on working class people no matter what station they reach in life.”
But a spokesman for the actor told the PA news agency that Grant had a different version of events.
When offered a handshake, “Grant’s words were ‘If you don’t mind, I won’t shake your hand because you were rude and dismissive to the victims or press abuse when you met them as culture secretary.’
“Hugh would like to point out that the victims in question were not celebrities.
“They were people with personal family tragedies who had been abused by sections of the press,” the spokesman said.
He said Grant was referring to a meeting between Mr Javid and “the victims of press abuse… (who) reported back that his attitude in the meeting was ‘borderline contemptuous’.”
The Chancellor also told the magazine why former Margaret Thatcher was his inspiration as a teenager.
“If you look back on any leader you can always pick things you wouldn’t like.
“But I look at what she achieved and what she did and those policies were what resonated with me.
“I would not be where I am now were it not for Margaret Thatcher,” he said.
The former Tory leadership also told the magazine: “People, let’s call them the elite, the ones with the comfortable upbringing, who went to the best schools – they glide through life, they get second chances, they can afford to screw up, they always have the easy language on the tip of their tongues.
“Whereas people like me and you don’t get second chances, don’t have that easy language on your finger-tips, haven’t got that funny anecdote to get out of that difficult situation, so you question your self-confidence.”
The full interview appears in this week’s issue of ES Magazine, out today.