US PRESIDENT Donald Trump could experience a military display in Portsmouth during his trip to the UK, a national newspaper has said.
The speculation comes after reports defence secretary Gavin Williamson is drawing up plans for the divisive figure to watch the first of the RAF’s new £9bn F-35 fighter jets land on board HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Developed by American firm Lockheed Martin, which has a base in Havant, the first of 48 F-35 Lightning IIs will arrive next week.
And after a 10-year test programme – which has even seen the RAF’s legendary Dambuster squadron reformed to fly the craft – reports say Mr Trump could be in the city to see the first of their number in action.
It follows confirmation of the president’s three-day visit to the UK, starting on July 13.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, a Ministry of Defence source said a display involving the carrier could even be teamed with an appearance from the iconic Red Arrows.
They told the newspaper: ‘Given that it is Trump, we thought that something a bit macho would be appropriate.
‘But they are American planes, so the Red Arrows could come out to add a more patriotic – and independent – touch.’
The would-be display has not been confirmed – but if were to involve HMS Queen Elizabeth – it is expected it would take place at the ship’s home of Portsmouth.
Previously, the leader of Portsmouth City Council, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, has said a Trump state visit to the UK would ‘embarrass’ the Queen.
But when Trump visits the UK next month, it is believed he could take tea with Her Majesty at Windsor Castle, as well as paying a visit to prime minister Theresa May at her country house, Chequers.
It is understood Mr Trump will be kept away from central London during his visit, after a protest organised on Facebook – spearheaded by pro-Labour columnist Owen Jones – garnered more than 130,000 RSVPs.
A full state visit for Mr Trump is still being organised for 2019.