THE leader of Portsmouth City Council has labelled a potential visit from president Donald Trump as ‘unlikely’, despite speculation from national media.
The Mail on Sunday reported that the US President’s July visit to the UK could see Trump stop by Portsmouth for a unique display involving F-35b fighter jets and aircraft carrier the HMS Queen Elizabeth.
A Ministry of Defence (MoD) source also told the news outlet that the display could 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.’
But Portsmouth City Council boss, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, was sceptical about the claims.
He said: ‘I think this is very unlikely. It is foolish to speculate.
‘The F-35 jets are not scheduled to be finished and come to the UK until next year at the earliest, so that doesn’t seem possible.’
The council boss stood by his previous comments that a visit from Trump would be unwelcome.
He added: ‘Trump has been bad for this country by putting a large tariff on produce going into the US from the UK – we need to remember this.
‘We have to be careful about being polite just for the sake of being polite. We have to say when something is wrong.
‘If he did come to Portsmouth, which I think is highly unlikely, I am not sure he would receive a warm welcome.’
However, former council leader, Cllr Donna Jones, believed thoughts about the visit should go beyond personal opinions.
She said: ‘This is about more than an individual man, it’s about the future of our two nations.
‘They’re a democracy, the same as us, and we need to be looking beyond the next four years to our long-term futures as Nato superpowers.
‘I may not be a huge fan of Trump myself but at the same time he is the President of America and if people value the ongoing relationship between our countries we should treat him with respect as a nation.’
Flight trials from the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth of the F-35b are due to take place off the east coast of America in the autumn. It is unlikey the navy will allow any landing of jets before this.