BBC Scotland has been told they are not allowed to send its own journalists to cover the US Presidential elections next week while at the same time 140 are being deployed from London.

Staff at the Pacific Quay headquarters in Glasgow were stunned at the news that, for the first time in recent history, BBC Scotland will have to bid for coverage of one of the world’s biggest political events through the London network foreign desk, behind the likes of BBC Cornwall.

The decision not to use any BBC Scotland staff to cover the elections, despite Trump being half-Scottish, has been branded as “ludicrous” and “an insult to Scotland” at a time when BBC chiefs are claiming their commitment to a Scottish Six news bulletin is very much alive.

When The National approached the BBC about the move, it was confirmed that no BBC Scotland teams would be sent to America. However, it pointed out that there were two Scottish reporters over there working for the BBC network, and one Gaelic-speaking correspondent from BBC Alba would be going.

The National Union of Journalists national organiser Paul Holleran said it was “a bit cheeky” of the BBC to suggest that just because Laura Bickers and James Cook, former BBC Scotland employees, were Scottish that the Scots should be content with that because they are network reporters who would be shared out across numerous programmes.

A BBC Scotland spokesman said: “BBC News is combining deployments on big foreign stories for coverage across the UK to ensure best value. BBC Scotland is working closely with the team in the US, including the correspondents routinely based there, and the BBC will be reporting the US election results as they unfold with expert analysis and correspondents at key election battlegrounds. BBC Alba is sending one Gaelic-speaking correspondent who will also provide some coverage for BBC Scotland.”

Holleran is calling for an urgent meeting with BBC Scotland executives to find out what they are doing to rescue Scotland’s coverage of the US elections.

He said: “This just flies in the face of everything they have been talking about with having international news from a Scottish perspective. It just epitomises why we need the Scottish Six and why we actually need a fully functioning Scottish news service where we have budgets that will allow us to provide news coverage of important events such as the US Presidential elections.

“Logistically, this is going to be a potential nightmare for the people at Pacific Quay trying to cover the elections, never mind not having a Scottish perspective. This is a dreadful way to treat a country and the people of Scotland.

“We will be raising this with BBC Scotland management to find out what noises they have made over this decision. I know that a number of producers and people in the Pacific Quay newsroom are incensed by this decision.”

A senior broadcaster, who is well-known in the industry but did not want to be named, said: “It is further evidence of a lack of dynamic leadership and commitment to Scotland on the world stage.”

Staff told The National that the decision came as a massive blow to BBC Scotland who fully expected to be sending its own people out to America to get unique Scottish content.

One said: “This is the first time that no dedicated person from BBC Scotland has been sent there for an election, and for one as massive as this, it is ludicrous and an insult to Scotland and the staff up here. The idea that Laura and James would help out just because they are Scots just isn’t going to happen. It doesn’t matter where they were born or where they used to work, BBC Scotland will still have to go through the same process of bidding for them rather than having their own dedicated people on the ground.”

Journalist, broadcaster and TV executive Stuart Cosgrove said: “There is plenty of journalistic talent at BBC Scotland that could bring good reports back from the US Presidential elections. There is always a danger that Scottish journalism and talent are seen as having to take a back seat.”

Broadcaster and former BBC Scotland journalist Derek Bateman, who co-produced two previous US elections for Good Morning Scotland from Washington, described the decision as “very disappointing”.

He said: “I am surprised that they are not sending anyone from BBC Scotland because it is an unfortunate departure from what has been the recent history. It is very disappointing.

“The problem is that if you have to go through the foreign desk in London you are at the mercy of someone who does not necessarily have your best interests at heart. We had ambition and imagination back then and I think that is what is lacking there.

“What worries me even more is what are they doing about Brexit, the BBC still has nobody serving Scotland in Brussels as this highly complex story evolves.

“They need a full-time correspondent dealing with Brexit, backed up with a producer, to become experts on that topic because it is massive. What will happen is the same as Indyref in that management will say ‘business as usual’, ‘no special arrangement and no extra budget’ and they will just stumble through again which is a real shame.”