Donald Trump to dodge protests by avoiding London during first UK visit as president

Posted On: 
6th July 2018

Donald Trump will avoid tens of thousands of protesters when he makes his first visit to the UK as American president by only spending a few hours in London.

Donald Trump is to be kept far away from any protesters.
PA Images

The US leader will stay overnight at Winfield House, the American ambassador's official residence, on Thursday but all his other engagements will be outside the capital.

They include two nights in Scotland, where President Trump's mother was brought up before emigrating to the USA, talks with Theresa May at her country residence, Chequers in Buckinghamshire, and an audience with the Queen at Windsor Castle.

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Up to 50,000 people are set to take to the streets of London to protest against the four-day visit.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "We're looking forward to making sure the President has a chance to see and experience the UK beyond London and the south east."

President Trump and his wife Melania will fly straight to the UK from the Nato summit in Brussels on Thursday, and attend a black tie dinner at Blenhaim Palace in Oxfordshire - the birthplace of Winston Churchill - that night.

The event will begin with a military ceremony in the Great Court performed by the bands of the Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards, who will play the Liberty Fanfare, Amazing Grace and the National Emblem.

More than 100 guests will attend the dinner, including Theresa May, some of her ministers, and representiatives from the financial services, food and drink, engineering, tech, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, defence and creative sectors.

Downing Street said the President and Prime Minister will visit a defence site "to witness a demonstration of the UK’s cutting edge military capabilities and integrated UK-US military training" on Friday morning, before the pair hold bilateral talks of foreign policy issues at Chequers.

Later that afternoon, President Trump and the First Lady will travel to Windsor Castle to meet the Queen, before flying to Scotland, where they are expected to stay until Sunday.

The protests against the visit will include the flying of a 20ft inflatable depicting the President as a baby.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has been criticised for giving permission for the balloon, which was created after campaigners raised £18,000 in a crowdfunding appeal.

But the Prime Minister's spokeswoman said: "We are a free and open democracy and we believe in the right to peaceful protest. But I would also say that I think the majority of British people understand the importance of the UK-US alliance.

"From our perspective, the presidential visit is an important moment to recognise our close and special relationship and to have open and frank dicsussions on the key issues."

On the decision to take President Trump to Chequers instead of Downing Street, the spokeswoman said: "Prime Ministers frequently make use of Chequers for meetings with foreign leaders. It offers a more informal setting for important bilateral discussions."

Number 10 sources stressed that President Nixon, as well as Presidents George H Bush and George W Bush, all visited Chequers for talks, as did French President Emmanuel Macron in January.