Donald Trump to visit Britain day after Brexit vote

Trump (above) said in a statement he would come to Britain on June 24 – the same day the result of the crucial vote is expected.
Trump (above) said in a statement he would come to Britain on June 24 – the same day the result of the crucial vote is expected.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

LONDON (AFP) - Presumptive US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will visit Britain the day after its landmark EU membership referendum, saying on Wednesday he was coming to open a newly-renovated Scottish golf course.

Trump said in a statement he would come to Britain on June 24 - the same day the result of the crucial vote is expected. The billionaire tycoon has previously said he believed Britain should leave the EU.

It will be his first visit outside the United States in months, during which he has all but clinched the nomination. He is only awaiting official confirmation at the Republican National Convention in July.

Trump will be visiting the Turnberry golf course in south-west Scotland which is to reopen after a £200 million (S$400 million) renovation.

"I own it and I am very proud of it. I look forward to attending the official opening of this great development on June 24th," he said in a statement.

But a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron's Downing Street office said there were "no plans" for the two men to meet during Trump's visit to Britain.

Although White House candidates normally meet the British premier after formally securing the nomination, Republican hopeful Mitt Romney met Cameron ahead of the London Olympics in July 2012, shortly before the convention.

A Scottish government spokesman said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also "does not plan" to meet Trump.

Sturgeon revoked Trump's status as a business ambassador for Scotland following his remarks in December about banning Muslims from the United States.

Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen on the northeast Scottish coast also revoked a doctorate of business administration that he was awarded in 2010.

And in December, Cameron told MPs that Trump's comments on Muslims were "divisive, stupid and wrong".

"I think if he came to visit our country, he would unite us all against him," Cameron said at the time.

The British leader has since sounded a more conciliatory note.

Asked if he would meet Trump before the US election in November, Cameron told ITV television last month: "American presidential candidates have made a habit of coming through Europe and through the UK, and so if that happens I'd be very happy to."

MPs in January debated the possibility of barring Trump from entering Britain after more than 500,000 people signed a public petition demanding a ban.

In their debate, lawmakers called him an idiot, a fool and a "wazzock" - British slang for a stupid or annoying person - but the government ruled out a ban.

Trump accused British politicians of "pandering to political correctness" and said he would scrap planned investments of £700 million if he was barred from Britain.

The outspoken billionaire has also said his personal "feeling" is that Britons should vote to leave the European Union, telling Fox News last month: "I would say that they're better off without it, but I want them to make their own decision."

The tycoon last visited Trump Turnberry, located on the south-west Scottish coast, in July 2015, a month after announcing his White House bid.

Trump's mother was a Scot and he owns a second golf course, Trump International Golf Links, on Scotland's northeastern coast.