British prime minister Theresa May has pitched for a "unprecedented" free trade deal with the U.S. after Brexit with a promise to tear down "bureaucratic barriers" to trade as she hosted a lavish welcome dinner for President Donald Trump at the Blenheim Palace.
Speaking shortly before arriving at London Stansted Airport on Thursday, the president said he was "fine" with people protesting against him but insisted that people across the United Kingdom, including in Scotland, "like me a lot".
- Mr Trump will arrive into Stansted airport on Thursday at around lunchtime, fresh from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels.
Trump has clashed in the past with May - even though she is a conservative who shares his view that defense spending should be raised - and with her predecessor, David Cameron, who challenged Trump's anti-Muslim campaign stance as "divisive, stupid and wrong".
Earlier this week Mr Trump said it was "up to the people" whether Prime Minister Theresa May stayed on after two cabinet ministers resigned within hours over her Brexit policy. Mr. Trump has been a keen supporter of Brexit and on Thursday he appeared to echo those concerns.
"I know she's looking forward to the opportunity to discuss with the president how we can take forward the big opportunities for increasing trade and investment between the UK and the United States that she mentioned last night during the dinner at Blenheim", he told reporters in Brussels, where he is attending a finance ministers' meeting. While saying that he didn't have any message or advice, he added: "I would say Brexit is Brexit..."
He added: "The deal she is striking is a much different deal than the one the people voted on". "I am just saying I think he would be a great prime minister".
"I'm going to a pretty hot spot right now, right?"
Ms. May quickly moved to fix the damage.
"This was just a bunch of friends who got together in a pub", said Kevin Smith, one of the 16 people behind the balloon.
His arrival in Scotland will spark a major security operation, but police have insisted they want to strike a balance between "protection and public safety and the public's right to peacefully protest".
Reports have indicated that his visit will be met with protests, prompting a warning from the U.S. Embassy in London, which advised Americans in the country to "keep a low profile" in case the demonstrations turn violent.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said it was preposterous for Donald Trump to blame a rise in violent crime in the city on immigration after the US president criticized his handling of crime and militant attacks. As many as 100,000 people are expected to turn out in central London for an anti-Trump rally.
"Clearly, the really hard Brexiters, the people who regard Theresa May as being a traitor, for keeping any sort of deal going with the European Union, they're going to love this", Lee said.
But opposition parties reacted scathingly to Mr Trump's intervention. She was hoping to win over critics of her Brexit proposal with the release of a 104-page document outlining details of the plan. The U.K. would agree to abide by the EU's rulebook for goods and agricultural products in return for not losing its open customs borders with the union.
May's "business-friendly" Brexit plan would keep Britain in a free trade zone for goods with the European Union but mean it had to accept some European Union rules.