Theresa May sends support to Miss Drag UK finalist

Image source, Ben Tye
Image caption,
Ben Tye, aka Amber Dextris, will compete in the final of the event on 10 March

A finalist in the first Miss Drag UK pageant has spoken of his shock at receiving an endorsement from none other than Theresa May.

The prime minister appears to have taken time out of her Brexit-dominated schedule to tweet - and send a signed letter of support - to Ben Tye.

Mr Tye, 22, from Dovercourt in Essex, will compete in the final of the event on 10 March as alter ego Amber Dextris.

He described the reaction to the PM's support as "absolutely crazy".

Mrs May had initially responded to a tweet sent by BBC journalist Chris Gibson, asking if she was a fan of the drag queen reality series, Ru Paul's Drag Race.

"Must admit I haven't had a chance to catch up on @RuPaulsDragRace," she replied, "but wishing Ben all the best in raising money for a great cause @SandsUK."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Mr Tye said he was shocked to receive Mrs May's support, as well as a letter and signed photo in the post.

"I looked at my phone on a break at work and I was a bit confused - I literally threw it on a table in shock," he said.

Image source, Ben Tye
Image caption,
Theresa May sent a signed letter and photo to Mr Tye

"I think it's fantastic. She has a lot on her plate but she took the time to send something personal like that. It's a positive thing."

Mrs May's tweet was sent at the same time she would have been preparing to address a conference in London to establish stronger economic links with Jordan.

Her schedule could hardly be busier, amid an ever-evolving Brexit quagmire, including Thursday's resignation of Agriculture Minister George Eustice.

The tweet was met with scorn from some, particularly one competitor from RuPaul's Drag Race, the hit reality TV show which sees drag queens compete to become America's next drag superstar.

Giovanni Palandrani, stage name Aquaria, tweeted: "Honestly thanks for the support but no thanks.

"Get your policies together and then feel comfortable enjoying our art. Mess."

Mr Tye said the signed letter and picture would be sold to raise money for Sands UK, the charity supported by the pageant.

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