THE First Minister has dismissed as “bunkum” claims that the Scottish Government were courting the Trump administration to use Prestwick Airport as a US military base.

Patrick Harvie probed Nicola Sturgeon in Holyrood over a report in the Guardian newspaper suggesting the Ayrshire airport, bought by ministers in 2013 for £1, was being used for frontline operations, at the time of US campaign in Syria.

The report suggested bosses from the airport had attended military fairs in America to try and win contracts, and had lobbied Scottish ministers to meet with the Trump Organisation to promote the airport.

Sturgeon said: “There has been no contact whatsoever by the Scottish Government or Transport Scotland with the US military, with the Trump Organisation or Trump Turnberry in relation to Prestwick Airport.”

She added the airport “providing fixed based operations and refuelling opportunities for military flights is neither new nor is it a revelation”.

The Ayrshire hub had done this kind of work for 80 years, she added.

“This is not new, it is not a revelation, it’s a load of bunkum.”

Harvie said the First Minister’s “dismissive response” was “extremely disappointing”.

“The First Minister denies that meetings took place between ministers and the Trump Organisation – no one is suggesting they had – but the discussions most certainly did take place.

“The FM should acknowledge that the government was aware of those discussions at the time.”

Harvie said the public ownership of the airport meant there was now a “responsibility” regarding its use.

“Yet this public asset which the First Minister has said should be looking to freight and retail development for its future, now appears to be basing its business model on servicing military attacks that the Scottish Government claims to oppose and promoting the toxic Trump brand which can only damage Scotland’s reputation,” he added.

Sturgeon was also questioned on the involvement of political appointees in answering freedom of information (FOI) requests.

A series of tweets from the journalist James McEnaney showed correspondence between the SNP’s special advisers and civil servants, which seems to suggest ministers were picking which documents to release under FOI.

Labour’s Rhoda Grant said the “government and their special advisers are holding back material from FOIs that could cause them embarrassment.”

Sturgeon insisted FOIs were handled by officials. She said: “They seek comments from relevant parts of the Scottish Government and consider whether Ministerial clearance should be sought.

“That’s entirely appropriate because the legal duty to comply with FOI legislation lies with Scottish ministers.”