Downing street 'unaware' of plans for Donald Trump to visit UK within few weeks

Downing Street has said it is not aware of any plans for US president Donald Trump to visit the UK in the next few weeks.

The comment came after reports that Mr Trump may drop in on one of his golf courses in Scotland during a visit to Europe later this month.

The Sunday Times reported that the president could give as little as 24 hours' notice to the Government of any planned trip, leaving ministers including Theresa May only a brief period to arrange possible meetings.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman told reporters at a regular Westminster media briefing on Monday: "I am not aware of any plans for the president to visit the UK in the next few weeks."

The spokesman declined to discuss whether Mrs May would head up to Scotland for a meeting if the president decided to pay a visit to his golf courses in Aberdeenshire and Turnberry, Ayrshire.

Mrs May invited Mr Trump on a state visit to the UK shortly after he took office, but speculation that it may have been put on hold was fuelled by its absence from last month's Queen's Speech. Reports suggested Mr Trump wants it delayed until it can take place without protests.

Asked whether the mooted state visit would take place during 2017, the PM's spokesman said: "We have extended an invitation, it has been accepted and we will set out plans in due course."

Mr Trump is crossing the Atlantic later this month for visits to Poland, the G20 summit in Germany, and Bastille Day celebrations in France - with both officials and protesters on the alert for a possible stop-off in the UK.

UK opponents of the Trump administration called on supporters to be "on stand-by" to demonstrate whenever and wherever the president arrives in the country.

Owen Jones, co-founder of the Stop Trump Coalition, said: "Donald Trump is so cowardly, he thinks he can sneak into the country to avoid protests.

"We have to prove him wrong. We're asking Britain to be on stand-by to take to the streets with just hours' notice if necessary."

In the latest controversy over his use of social media, Mr Trump provoked anger after tweeting a mocked-up video of him beating up a man with a CNN logo over his face.

The 28-second clip shared on Sunday shows Mr Trump tackling a man to the floor and pummelling him in a video taken from pro-wrestling event Wrestlemania XXIII.

The face of Vince McMahon, who was on the receiving end of the "body-slam", has been obscured with the logo of American broadcaster CNN logo.

CNN claimed the video clip "encourages violence against reporters", while Bruce Brown of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press said the tweet was "beneath the office of the presidency".

It is not clear who produced the clip, which has been shared more than 200,000 times on Twitter with the caption "#FraudNewsCNN #FNN".

Mr Trump then doubled down on his criticism of the press later in the day, tweeting: "The dishonest media will NEVER keep us from accomplishing our objectives on behalf of our GREAT AMERICAN PEOPLE!"

A White House aide insisted the tweet should not be seen as an attack on reporters.

"I think that no one would perceive that as a threat," homeland security adviser Tom Bossert said.

"I hope they don't. But I do think that he's beaten up in a way on cable platforms that he has a right to respond to."

- PA


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