THE Scotland Office must have “something to hide” over David Mundell’s meetings with Donald Trump’s representative, an SNP MSP has claimed.

The comment from Emma Harper came after the UK Government department refused to reveal any more detail about a controversial 2018 summit between the then secretary of state for Scotland and Woody Johnson, the US ambassador to the UK.

According to the New York Times, Johnson, at the behest of Trump, used the meeting to ask Mundell to bring The Open golf tournament to the president’s Turnberry course.

That report has been rejected by both the UK and US governments.

In a carefully worded statement released at the time a UK Government spokesperson said that Mundell and Johnson had met in early 2018 and discussed “a number of issues … reflecting the close cultural and economic ties between Scotland and the USA”.

The spokesperson added: “Mr Johnson made no request of Mr Mundell regarding The Open or any other sporting event.”

The National asked the Scotland Office for more details of the meeting between Johnson and Mundell to be released under Freedom of Information legislation.

We asked for all correspondence and any minutes or briefings related to the meetings, as well as the dates and details of any other meetings held between Scotland Office ministers and representatives of the US government. While it confirmed it had held the information, the Scotland Office said it could not be released as it could “prejudice relations between the United Kingdom and any other state” and the “interests of the United Kingdom abroad”.

The Scotland Office said it accepts there is “a public interest in disclosing information about the UK’s international relations and its interests abroad, about the UK’s economic interests and about the formulation or development of UK Government policy”.

However, it added that the public interest needed to be weighed “against a strong public interest in the United Kingdom being able successfully to pursue our national interests”.

It added: “The UK is more likely to do so if we conform to the conventions of international behaviour, avoid giving offence to other nations and retain the trust of our international partners.”

Harper said the Scotland Office and the Tory Government needed to say what was discussed at the meetings. The South Scotland MSP said: “Instead of trying to ‘avoid giving offence’ to Donald Trump, the Tories should be open with the people of Scotland.

“The public have a right to know what was discussed at these meetings – was it chlorinated chicken, hormone-injected beef, Donald Trump’s attempts to put our NHS on the table in a trade deal or the Tories’ inaction to support the hundreds of Scottish firms who have been hit by US tariffs?

“The Tories cannot pick and choose what information to release based on their desperate attempts to achieve a quick trade deal with the US, regardless of the bargain basement conditions demanded by the Trump administration. If the Scotland Office refuses to release the details of these meetings, we can assume there’s something to hide.”

Johnson, the billionaire owner of the New York Jets NFL team and a fundraiser for President Trump is currently being investigated for racist and sexist conduct after a report from the inspector-general of the State Department said he “sometimes made inappropriate or insensitive comments on topics, generally considered Equal Employment Opportunity-sensitive, such as religion, sex or colour”.

A spokesperson for the Scotland Office said: “In line with the FOI legislation, all public bodies are required to consider the balance between public interest and the need for the United Kingdom Government to be able to pursue its national interests on behalf of all of the people of the UK."