Scotland politics

David Mundell 'looking forward' to meeting Donald Trump

David Mundell Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Mundell will greet the president on behalf of the UK government

David Mundell has said he is "looking forward" to meeting President Trump in Scotland, and that the visit will strengthen links with the US.

The Scottish secretary will greet Mr Trump on behalf of the UK government.

The Scottish government is calling for "peaceful protests" as the president prepares for his private visit.

But Labour and the Greens said Mr Trump was "not welcome" and that Air Force One should not be allowed to land at the publicly owned Prestwick Airport.

Scottish secretary David Mundell will officially welcome Donald Trump as he lands on Scottish soil for the first time as President of the US.

He said: "I am looking forward to greeting Mr Trump on behalf of the UK Government when he arrives in Scotland on Friday.

"The UK and the USA have longstanding and important cultural, trade and security bonds. The President's visit is an opportunity to strengthen vital links with one of our most important global allies.

"The President's Scots heritage ‎is well known, and I hope he enjoys his visit to Scotland."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Protests are expected throughout the private visit by Donald Trump

Protests against the visit were already under way on Wednesday as a demonstration was held outside one of his golf courses.

Around a dozen activists from Stand Up to Racism Scotland staged a brief protest at the Trump Turnberry resort in South Ayrshire ahead of the US president's arrival in the UK.

Setting up on the golf course at the foot of the hotel drive, the group brandished banners with the slogans "Trump not welcome" and "No to racism, no to Trump".

They shouted "lock up Trump, let the children go", and mocked up a caged Mr Trump to draw attention to his administration's policy of separating children from their parents at the US/Mexico border.

The Scottish government called for peaceful protest over the weekend.

A spokesman said: "President Trump is coming to the UK at the invitation of the UK government and the Secretary of State for Scotland will greet him on arrival. We understand the President's time in Scotland is planned as a personal private visit between other engagements with no official meetings.

"The Scottish government has been planning for this for some time with key partners, including Police Scotland, and we will continue to work with them as required on the final preparations.

"Scotland has deep and longstanding ties of family, friendship and business with the United States, which will continue to endure. At the same time, we will not compromise our fundamental values of equality, diversity, and human rights and we expect these values to be made clear during the Presidential visit to the UK. We would encourage those attending any protests to do so peacefully and safely."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Opposition parties have insisted that Donald Trump is "not welcome" in Scotland

Two opposition parties have come together to oppose the president's visit to Scotland.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard and Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie issued a joint statement saying Mr Trump should not be allowed to land at Prestwick Airport.

They said: "Donald Trump is not welcome here. The horrific scenes at the Mexican border are a repudiation of decent human values. Caging children like animals is barbaric. We cannot roll out the red carpet for a US President that treats human beings this way.

"From his disgraceful equating of anti-fascist campaigners with Nazis in Charlottesville, his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, to his Islamophobic travel ban and his misogyny Donald Trump has demonstrated that he should be denied any kind of welcome."

The statement added: "The Scottish government owns Prestwick Airport. We believe that this publicly-owned facility should not be used for Donald Trump's visit."

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