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‘No remit’ to probe Trump ad claims

The body that monitors election spending says it has no remit to investigate reports that US tycoon Donald Trump is to fund “a massive advertising campaign” against council candidates who support wind turbines.

The Electoral Commission responded to a complaint by the Green Party which is concerned at the threat of overseas donations being used against candidates.

Mr Trump, on a self-declared mission “to save Scotland” from the turbines, is reportedly backing campaign group Communities Against Turbines Scotland (Cats) to “make life uncomfortable for politicians, planners and wind power developers”.

Quoted in Holyrood magazine, campaign chairwoman Susan Crosthwaite said: “Donald Trump will help us by doing some advertising.”

The Green Party expressed “serious concern” and contacted the Electoral Commission.

However, a spokeswoman for the commission later said: “The Electoral Commission has considered the complaint but it falls outwith powers to regulate non-party campaigning at local government elections in Scotland.”

Any allegation that rules have been breached would have to be reported to the police, the spokeswoman said.

A Green Party spokesman said: “We thought it didn’t look right. We’re going to keep an eye on it. It’s up to Cats to decide what they do with his money.”

Mr Trump is scheduled to appear before Holyrood’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee on April 25 as part of its inquiry into whether the Scottish Government’s renewable energy targets are achievable.

The Scottish local government elections will take place eight days later.