THE notorious figurehead for the US ‘alt-right’ movement who helped get Donald Trump into the White House has made a secret appearance in Scotland.

Steve Bannon, who has been accused of being a “white nationalist”, is said to have given a staunch defence of the Republican President at a gathering of the think-tank Scotland International Ltd (SIL) in Gleneagles on Friday.

Labour MSP James Kelly said: “Both the UK and Scottish Government’s should be doing everything they can to ensure merchants of hate are not allowed a market in Britain.”

Bannon was a founding member of the board of Breitbart News, an online news site which became known for its far-right takes on issues such as immigration.

In 2012, he became executive chair of the parent company and is said to have steered the website towards a more extreme agenda.

He once said: "We think of ourselves as virulently anti-establishment, particularly 'anti-' the permanent political class."

Bannon then became chief executive of Trump’s presidential campaign and is credited as being the mastermind behind the White House populist agenda.

After Trump’s shock win over Hillary Clinton, liberal pressure groups were outraged when Bannon was appointed chief strategist and senior counselor to the President-elect.

In November 2016, senior Democrat Nancy Pelosi said of President-elect Trump’s decision to appoint Bannon: “There must be no sugar-coating the reality that a white nationalist has been named chief strategist for the Trump Administration.”

However, Bannon hit back: “I’m not a white nationalist, I’m a nationalist. I’m an economic nationalist.”

HeraldScotland:

Picture: Bannon at the event

Although he was described as the “second most powerful man in the world”, Bannon was said to have fallen out with Trump and tendered his resignation earlier this year.

He has used his time since leaving office to promote favoured Republican candidates and promote his alternative far-right agenda across the globe.

SIL, which was set up in the 1990s, is a think tank fronted by Edinburgh-based tycoon Sir Angus Grossart and has been described as an annual gathering of business leaders.

The organisation staged an event last week at the five star Gleneagles hotel. A source in the room said Bannon was part of a panel and he spoke for about 25 minutes, which was followed by a question and answer session.

“The great and good of Scotland didn’t hold back,” the insider said. “I don’t think there was anybody in the room who supported what he [Bannon] was saying.”

Asked what Bannon spoke about, the source said: “Just basically his philosophy. His philosophy is that the world needs a dramatic change like Reagan, and Trump is the man.”

The source said attendees questioned why Trump needed to post offensive tweets: “He defended it all. He said we’ve all got to wake up.”

A picture of the event obtained by the Sunday Herald shows Bannon sitting in the middle of a three-man panel, with Grossart standing in the room.

Bannon’s session at Gleneagles was part of a UK trip that also included a meeting with prominent Tory MP Jacob Rees Mogg.

It was reported last week that the pair had an hour-long meeting in a Mayfair hotel to talk about how conservative movements can win in the US and UK.

He is also believed to have met Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader, and another Conservative MP during the short trip.

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said: "Steve Bannon is a far right extremist, a notorious white nationalist and pioneer of hateful 'fake news' propaganda."

Kelly said: “Steve Bannon’s hateful views have no place in civilised society. Donald Trump has rightly been condemned for promoting Britain First - and far-right figures such as Mr Bannon should not be given a platform, however small, to air similar views.”

Grossart could not be reached.