UK to cover Trump Scottish visit bill

Donald Trump's news conference at TurnberryImage copyright

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Donald Trump visited his Turnberry golf course when he was Republican candidate for the presidency

The Treasury has confirmed it will fund policing costs of up to £5m if US President Donald Trump visits Scotland.

It is believed Mr Trump will head to Scotland after meeting Prime Minister Theresa May in London next week.

Concerns were raised that any such visit could require at least 5,000 officers to police, costing Scotland’s national force up to £5m.

However, Treasury Secretary Liz Truss has now confirmed that money would be made available for policing any visit.

Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf had written to UK counterparts saying it would be “completely unacceptable” for the Scottish government to carry the costs of policing the visit.

It is thought that President Trump may visit at least one of his golf courses in Ayrshire and Aberdeenshire.

Mr Trump’s mother was born on the Isle of Lewis, and he made several visits to his “ancestral home” before he became president.

He last visited Trump Turnberry in June 2016 – on the day after the EU referendum – on his first foreign trip as the Republican presidential candidate.

That trip was the subject of a small protest, but if he travels to Scotland much larger rallies are expected in a number of locations now that he is in office – all of which would need to be policed.

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Mr Trump’s mother was born on the Isle of Lewis

Police Scotland is working on “extensive operational planning” for a visit by the president, with interim Chief Constable Iain Livingstone warning the Scottish Police Authority that “we will have to utilise over 5,000 conventional officers, along with public order officer, specialised search and firearms resources”.

Writing to Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Mr Yousaf cited the 2005 G8 summit in Gleneagles, when the UK government paid £20m towards policing costs.

In a letter replying to Mr Yousaf, Ms Truss stressed that “the final details of the president’s visit to the UK, including Scotland, are still to be confirmed”.

She wrote: “As you are aware, policing is a devolved matter in Scotland.

“However, on an exceptional basis, I can confirm that the Treasury would provide ring-fenced funding of up to £5m to cover the costs incurred by Police Scotland should a visit from the president be confirmed.”

Mr Yousaf welcomed the move, while Mr Livingstone said it was a “fair outcome” – adding that “detailed planning continues” in “another busy and demanding summer” for the force.

Some Scottish politicians have spoken out against Mr Trump’s visit, with Green co-convener Patrick Harvie tweeting that the UK government “will also pay the political cost of their friendship with this dangerous, delusional bully”.

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