Calls grow to ban 'dangerous criminal' Donald Trump from visiting Scotland

A growing number of politicians across Scotland have backed calls to bar Donald Trump from entering Scotland and the UK in the wake of recent violence in Washington DC, describing him as a “dangerous criminal” who should face prosecution.

At least four MSPs across three parties have now supported an outright ban on the outgoing US president from flying into the country, intensifying the pressure on home secretary Priti Patel to stop Mr Trump from travelling here.

The warnings are especially acute during the coronavirus pandemic, with one MSP warning that Mr Trump would be putting rural communities at risk were he to visit in coming weeks.

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Others, however, said once the pandemic is over, it should remain Mr Trump’s right to visit his Scottish properties, despite the fact he is a “dangerous man”.

Donald Trump last visited Scotland in July 2018 on a private visit to his Turnberry resort. Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty

Scotland’s health secretary Jeane Freeman said that if Mr Trump ignored the warnings to stay away, the Scottish Government “would use every power available to it to protect the health of its citizens”.

It comes amid fever pitch debate in the US over the removal of Mr Trump from office and fears over further violent flashpoints.

Despite widespread speculation to the contrary, sources at Mr Trump’s Scottish firms said there were no plans for him to visit in the near future.

But in the aftermath of Wednesday’s Capitol riots, Humza Yousaf, the justice secretary, wrote to Ms Patel urging her to make an exclusion order against Mr Trump on the grounds that his presence would not be conducive to the public good.

Richard Thomson

Home Office guidelines state that exclusions on non-conducive grounds mean that it is undesirable to admit the person entry “because they pose a threat to UK society”. It applies to conduct both in the UK and overseas.

Patrick Harvie, co-convenor of the Scottish Greens, has also described Mr Trump as a “threat to public order” and that it was “entirely legitimate” for the UK Government to prevent him entering the country.

Now, after The Scotsman contacted every elected representative whose constituency, region or ward takes in one of Mr Trump’s properties, more politicians have said Mr Trump should be persona non grata.

Joan McAlpine, the SNP MSP for the south of Scotland, said: “Angela Merkel compared the attack on the Capitol with the burning of the Reichstag by the Nazis and she was right – this was an attempted coup.

Scottish Health Secretary Jeanne Freeman.

“Trump should lose presidential immunity and face criminal charges ... I would certainly support a ban on him entering the country and any legal means by which we could end our association with this dangerous criminal.”

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Mike Rumbles, the Scottish Lib Dem MSP for north east Scotland, said: “I believe Mr Trump clearly comes into the category of an undesirable person and that there are enough grounds for the UK Government to bar his entry into the country. The loss of life caused by his incitement of the mob in Washington is proof of that.

“I hope that if Mr Trump attempted to come to Scotland, the UK Government would take the appropriate action to bar his entry.”

TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump speaks to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. - Thousands of Trump supporters, fueled by his spurious claims of voter fraud, are flooding the nation's capital protesting the expected certification of Joe Biden's White House victory by the US Congress. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Ms Freeman, the health secretary and SNP MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley, said her constituents and fellow Scots “would not be particularly happy” to see Mr Trump at the best of times, a sentiment reinforced by his “appalling actions”.

She asked him to stay away during the pandemic, but noted: “As I understand it, US presidents have a degree of privilege when it comes to international travel and international borders are reserved to Westminster.

“If Trump ignored warnings to stay away, the Scottish Government would use every power available to it to protect the health of its citizens.”

Emma Harper, the SNP MSP for the south of Scotland, and Scottish Labour’s Colin Smyth also urged Mr Trump to stay clear during the pandemic.

Ms Harper warned that to do otherwise could endanger lives, commenting: “He would be putting communities at risk by bringing himself, his security and entourage to our region, which is currently dealing with a large volume of Covid-19 cases.”

Mr Smyth, meanwhile, said he hoped “Scotland has seen the back of him”, describing Mr Trump as “absentee owner” of Turnberry.

John Devlin 08/03/2019. GLASGOW. Willow Tea Rooms. 119-121 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow G2 3EL Portrait of The Convener of the Committee, Joan McAlpine MSP. The Convener of the Committee, Joan McAlpine MSP and Ross Greer MSP, launch the Committee s findings. Holyrood Committee launch findings of inquiry into Glasgow School of Art fires. Mackintosh at the Willow Tea Rooms, Glasgow, today, 8 March at 10am. Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee’s report into the circumstances surrounding the two fires at the Glasgow School of Art. This report outlines the Committee s conclusions and findings following an inquiry which has been underway since September, hearing from a wide range of experts and witnesses. The Convener of the Committee, Joan McAlpine MSP and Ross Greer MSP, launch the Committee s findings. Joan McAlpine, convenor, says that the decision to build or not rebuild the Mack should be a ‘national conversation’. The MSPs report into the Glasgow School of Art fires has called for a public inquiry. The Culture Committee calls in its new report for the Scottish Government to establish a formal probe into the 2018 fire. The report finds that the GSA did not give sufficient priority to the safeguarding of the historic building. It said it is also concerned about the length of time taken for a mist system to be installed at the Mack. Joan McAlpine MSP, convenor, said: “The board of GSA were custodians of this magnificent building one of the most significant to Scotland’s rich cultural heritage. "They had a duty to protect Mackintosh’s legacy. The report does not call for the board of the GSA to resign. However it does suggest the GSA give serious consideration to placing the Mackintosh Building in a Trust. The report says that the dual purpose of the Mack places a ‘significant burden’ upon the building which increases the risk of fire occurring. It also says that the Committee is â€

Richard Thomson, the SNP MP for Gordon, said that if Ms Patel has cause to believe Mr Trump’s presence would not be conducive to the public good, she must apply the laws “exactly as she would to anyone else”.

He said: “Mr Trump is not, to my knowledge, in any kind of direct ownership or day-to-day control of his golf courses in Scotland. If that situation were to change after he leaves office, then given his previous approach in that more hands-on role, I think that people in surrounding areas would be right to have concerns.”

However, others believe that a distinction must be made between Mr Trump and his firms.

Gillian Martin, the SNP MSP for Aberdeenshire East, characterised Mr Trump as a “dangerous man” and said she “fully supported” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s demand that he not travel here to play golf. She added, however, that the Aberdeenshire resort belongs to his company and “it is his right to visit it in normal times”.

Brian Whittle, the Scottish Conservative MSP for the south of Scotland, said while Mr Trump should not visit for the “foreseeable future”, he was hesitant to call on an outright ban.

“Disliking someone or their politics does not justify banning them from entering the UK,” he said. “These are decisions for the Home Office.

“Ultimately, unless President Trump decides to sell his properties and someone else is willing to buy, tarnishing the reputation of these properties only serves to harm the staff and local businesses who rely on them.”

Alec Clark, who represents the South Carrick ward on South Ayrshire Council, said some who “abhor” Mr Trump’s politics depended on his resorts for employment.

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Richard Thomson
US President Donald Trump leaves after speaking during a Make America Great Again rally at Dubuque Regional Airport on November 1, 2020, in Dubuque, Iowa. - Donald Trump vowed to again defy the polls as he sprinted through five swing states in a blitz of campaigning against Joe Biden with just two days left before a US presidential election that has already mobilized a record number of early voters. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Picture : John Devlin. 19/11/2020. Broughty Ferry. Portrait of Humza Yousaf, Cabinet Secretary for Justice. Humza Haroon Yousaf is a Scottish politician who has served as Cabinet Secretary for Justice since 2018. A member of the Scottish National Party, he has been Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow Pollok since 2016, having previously been an MSP for the Glasgow region from 2011 to 2016.
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