Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK is to be delayed until October and will take place mostly in Scotland, according to reports. The Daily Mail has reported that planners want to shift much of the US president’s trip - originally penciled in for the first week in June - to the Queen’s residence at Balmoral, Aberdeenshire, in a bid to deter protesters.The president could spend as little as one day in London before heading to Scotland.
A senior Whitehall source told the paper: “The Americans have asked to push it back. “They don’t want what will be one of his first big foreign trips to be overshadowed.”
Mr Trump’s mother, Mary, was born in Stornoway on the isle of Lewis. There is also speculation that Mr Trump may wish to visit the area during his stay. He has substantial business interests in Scotland, including the Trump International Golf Course in Aberdeenshire.
However, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was among those calling for his state visit to be cancelled in retaliation for his “deeply wrong” travel ban.
The reported delay also means that Parliament will be in recess, making it impossible for MPs to “snub” the President by refusing him the honor of making an address.
Officials believe the delay could also allow tempers to cool over Mr Trump’s controversial policies, and that the autumn weather may make mass protests less likely.
Another report from The Sun says the trip, originally planned for the summer, has been provisionally set for Oct. 5-8, although those dates might change.
Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May agreed to postpone the trip during a phone call two weeks ago until controversy over his proposed temporary immigration ban on people from seven majority-Muslim countries abates, the newspaper said.
The reported dates fall when Britain’s Parliament is in recess, meaning Trump would avoid an address to lawmakers. John Bercow, the speaker of the House of Commons, has vowed to block Trump from addressing Parliament during the state visit.
Members of Parliament debated whether the offer of a state visit should be withdrawn last month after more than 1.8 million people signed a petition against it. The lawmakers have no power to cancel the visit, which the government says will go ahead. Thousands of people protested outside the Parliament building during the three-hour debate.
10 Downing Street, May’s office, had no comment on The Sun's report.
“The invitation has been extended and accepted and dates will be announced in due course,” Downing Street said in a statement.