A LETTER inviting US President Donald Trump to visit Teesside was sent to the White House yesterday.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen sent an official letter inviting Trump to visit the area as part of the three-day visit.

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And it is not the first time he has extended the offer to Mr Trump – he had invited him when the idea of the President coming to UK shores on a state visit was first mooted two years ago.

Mr Houchen said: “Whether you like him or loathe him, we can’t hide from the fact that Mr Trump is the leader of a country that is the UK’s closest ally.

“The UK is the single largest investor in the US, and the US is the single largest investor in the UK. We share a common language, legal heritage, and similar business institutions and practices – a $1trillion trading relationship that benefits each and everyone one of us, regardless of who happens to sit in the White House.

“As Mayor, I was elected to work with anyone and everyone to attract inward investment into the Tees Valley – and the US is no exception. American companies like Cummins in Darlington, ConocoPhillips at Seal Sands, Caterpillar in Skinningrove and Huntsman at Wilton have invested hundreds of millions of pounds into our regional economy, and each of them support thousands of livelihoods in our area.

“To build on this, we’re working with a major US investor looking to base themselves on the South Tees Development Corporation site in Redcar. A visit by the President would help expedite this process enormously, meaning more jobs for local people - and sooner.

“This is not about Trump or his policies, this is about Teesside jobs.

“It’s a long-shot, but if you don’t ask you don’t get.”

The President is expected to hold a meeting with Theresa May at Downing Street during the June 3-5 visit and also attend a ceremony in Portsmouth to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

No other details have been confirmed of the state visit yet. If he does accept Mr Houchen’s invitation to the region he will not be the first US President to visit.

Just over 15 years ago George W Bush visited Tony Blair in his Sedgefield constituency.