Trump supporters urge him to steer clear of London during UK visit

Trump supporters urge him to steer clear of London during UK visit

Donald Trump has been urged by UK-based supporters to stay away from London in his upcoming visit to Britain, in order to avoid "major protests, crime and disorder".

In a letter to the US President, six conservative groups recommend he should instead focus his visit on his "ancestral home" of Scotland, including a meeting with the Queen at Balmoral.

Plans for a working visit to the UK in 2018 were announced when Mr Trump met British Prime Minister Theresa May at Davos in January, with speculation rife the trip could take place in July.

The most hotly-tipped date is July 13, following the Nato summit which the president is due to attend in Brussels on the previous days.

Interest in Mr Trump's plans has been fuelled by this week high-profile state visit to the US of Emmanuel Macron, which some commentators have framed as a bid by the French president to make Paris Washington's first port of call in Europe following Brexit.

Downing Street has remained tight-lipped on the timing, saying only that details will be announced "in due course".

Mr Trump cancelled a planned trip to London to open the new US embassy in Vauxhall earlier this year, complaining the move to an "off location" south of the Thames had been a "bad deal".

But it is thought his decision may have been driven by a fear of protests in the capital, with whose mayor Sadiq Khan he has clashed over his response to terrorism.

The expectation of demonstrations is also believed to have played a part in the postponement of a state visit mooted for 2017.

That trip - which would involve lavish ceremonies and a stay with Britain's Queen at Buckingham Palace - has been put off indefinitely, though Number 10 insists the invitation stands.

The letter to Mr Trump was signed by the heads of conservative thinktanks the Bow Group, Bruges Group, Parliament Street and the Freedom Association, as well as the chairman of Republicans Overseas Scotland and a contributor to ThinkScotland.

They told the president the political and media establishment in London was "far out of touch" with the feelings of ordinary people outside the capital, many of whom "strongly support" his leadership.

Donald Trump visiting Scotland in 2016.
Donald Trump visiting Scotland in 2016.

"Your ancestral homeland of Scotland represents a powerful bond between you and Britain, and given the nature of the climate in London, it is a superior destination," they said.

"As you know, the Royal Estate of Balmoral Castle sits in Scotland's Cairgorms National Park, thus allowing you to make a full state visit as the guest of the Her Majesty the Queen.

"Scotland and the North of England also offer a variety of locations where you would be able to speak directly to ordinary British people and witness the true level of support that exists for you and the special relationship between the US and the UK."

Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group, said: "A visit to London by the president is likely to draw major protests, crime and disorder, and we do not wish to see Britain or President Trump embarrassed by this.

"It is important that the people of the United States and its government know there are many in Britain who strongly support the president and the special relationship, and wish for President Trump to be afforded the warmest of welcomes.

"Sadly that will not be the case in London."

Mr Trump, whose mother was born on the Isle of Lewis, made frequent visits to Scotland before becoming president.

His last trip came during the presidential campaign in June 2016, when he visited his golf resorts.

PA

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