Page last updated at 14:39 GMT, Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Call for debate on Trump affair

Donald Trump swinging a golf club
The government's handling of Mr Trump's plans will be debated

The Scottish Government's handling of Donald Trump's plans for a 1bn golf resort should be debated by the full parliament, MSPs have said.

MSPs on the local government committee voted 5-3 in favour of the debate, with SNP members rejecting the motion.

The committee was split over the conclusions of its own inquiry which accused First Minister Alex Salmond of acting in a "cavalier" fashion.

Mr Trump wants to build a golf resort on the Menie Estate, north of Aberdeen.

The Scottish Government decided to have the final say on the golf plans after they were narrowly rejected by Aberdeenshire Council.

They will now come before a public inquiry, due to start in June.

Had it been released earlier there may have been a number of pertinent questions that we could have addressed to witnesses
David McLetchie
Scottish Conservatives

A report by the local government committee last week raised concerns that a government decision to "call in" the plans came after "two five-minute phone calls".

Mr Salmond has always insisted he had done nothing wrong and said meeting all sides of the debate was vital, given that the development was planned for his Gordon constituency.

At the committee meeting on Wednesday, Scottish Tory MSP David McLetchie hit out at the release of correspondence under freedom of information.

It included details of contact between the Trump organisation and Mr Salmond's office but it came a week after the committee had reported.

'Pressure on Parliament'

"Had it been released earlier there may have been a number of pertinent questions that we could have addressed to witnesses - not that the information gives me any cause to review the conclusions.

"It would have been better for the evidential record had this information been put into the public domain," he said.

But a government spokesman said that the material had been issued as quickly as possible.

He cited the number of FOI requests combined with the number or parliamentary questions that have to be answered as factors in the delay.




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