DESPITE leaving hungry guests waiting while he toured the Churchill exhibition and thousands protesting outside the gates, county council leader Ian Hudspeth has described Donald Trump’s visit to Blenheim Palace last night as a success.

Mr Hudspeth was one of around 150 guests invited to the black tie dinner at the Oxfordshire landmark, which saw Prime Minister Theresa May host the US President and First Lady Melania as part of a four-day visit to the UK.

The Conservative councillor said the event showcased the ‘best of Blenheim’ and would prove a boost for the county’s tourism after the eyes of the international media were focused on the Woodstock stately home.

He added: “It was a really good evening. From speaking with the Americans there last night they really liked the venue and said they are going to come back.

Tourism is a major part of the Oxfordshire economy, with over £2bn generated each year and this was a great opportunity to show off Blenheim on the world stage.”

Things did not go entirely smoothly, however, with Mr Hudspeth adding: “The President went for a tour around the Churchill exhibition which lasted a lot longer than expected.

"I don't know how long it was, he was clearly very interested, but the chefs did a fantastic job making sure the food still went out properly." 

The traditionally British menu included a smoked salmon starter followed by roast beef and potatoes, with strawberry jelly and shortcake to finish.

Mr Hudspeth said comments the President made in an interview with The Sun today criticising the Prime Minister's Brexit strategy and plans for a trade deal with the US did not undermine the purpose of last night's event.

He said: “I was three or four tables away and didn’t get the opportunity to speak with him but in the speeches there were warm words exchanged on both sides. 

"He is obviously very blunt in how he talks but certainly in the speech last night he said the Prime Minister was a ‘fantastic lady doing a fantastic job’."

The council leader added he believed the two countries could work well together.

On the protests outside, with around 3,000 people demonstrating including Oxford West MP Layla Moran as well as a slew of largely Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors, he said: “I think whatever your views on the President he has been democratically elected, so we should respect that.

“Equally, people have the right to protest and it was a very peaceful demonstration.”

He added from speaking to Woodstock business owners pubs and restaurants had done a roaring trade from the attention on the town.