Page last updated at 01:01 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Obama urged to create own tartan

Barak Obama
Mr Obama's inauguration is to take place on Tuesday

Calls have been made for Barack Obama to mark his inauguration as US president by creating his own tartan.

The move would be the ideal way to celebrate Mr Obama's Scottish ancestry and boost tourism, according to the Scottish Conservative Party.

Mr Obama can be traced to William the Lion, who ruled Scotland from 1165 to 1214, genealogists believe.

Washington is braced for unprecedented crowds for Tuesday's inauguration. More than two million people are expected.

The Scottish Conservatives have written to Mr Obama about the tartan, which the party said could boost tartan exports amid the economic downturn.

Scots-Irish heritage

"The election of Barack Obama as the first in a new generation of leaders has inspired people all around the world," said Scottish Conservative deputy leader Murdo Fraser.

"Like so many Americans, the new president can claim Scottish ancestry, and an Obama tartan would be a fitting way to celebrate his inauguration."

Mr Obama's maternal ancestor, Edward FitzRandolph, was said to have emigrated to America in the 17th Century.

Edinburgh-based contemporary kilt designer Howie Nicholsby, backed the campaign, adding: "We know millions of Americans have what they call 'Scots-Irish' heritage and millions more claim to have it.

"An Obama tartan would reach out to these groups but would also appeal beyond them to Americans with little or no knowledge of Scotland."

Scotland's first minister, Alex Salmond, has invited Mr Obama to visit Scotland in 2009.

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