Conservative Party leadership hopeful Rishi Sunak visits Clitheroe as part of Lancashire tour

Prime Ministerial hopeful Rishi Sunak visited Clitheroe this week as the Tory leadership contest hotted up.

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is battling with Liz Truss to become the next Tory leader and Prime Minister, visited the Ribble Valley as part of a tour of northern England, to speak to party members from all parts of Lancashire.

The hustings took place at the St Mary’s Centre and was attended by around 90 party members.

Coun. David Berryman, the local Conservative agent, welcomed Mr Sunak, who was introduced by a member of his team, the Hon Richard Holden MP, who is the member for North West Durham but originally hails from Grindleton.

Tory leadership hopeful and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak poses for a selfie with local party members in Clitheroe

Mr Sunak spoke passionately about his vision for the future of the country should he become Prime Minister. He outlined his plans for tax reform, energy security and how he would deal with the cost of living crisis and inflation.

A lengthy question and answer session was held, with Mr Sunak fielding questions on tax reform, local government finance, the NHS, consultation of party members by the leadership and international relations.

He was also asked by a young Ukranian lady, Yulia, if he would continue the current British Government’s policies on Ukraine and Russia. Mr Sunak was emphatic that he would continue the support that the government had given to Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict.

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Tory leadership hopeful Rishi Sunak chats to local party members in Clitheroe

The event organiser, Coun. Berryman, said: “Whilst the local party is not endorsing either candidate we are very willing to facilitate both candidates’ interaction with members who have now received their ballot papers from the party.

"Mr Sunak came across as very personable, knowledgeble and willing to listen to the views of others. Should the Liz Truss team wish for the Association to set up a similar event for her, then we would be more than happy to oblige.”

Coun. Stephen Atkinson, leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council, said “Rishi is a man with a great deal of experience at the heart of government. I am hopeful that he will take on board some of what was said to him today about local government finances and the tax system.”

After answering questions, Mr Sunak spent some time speaking with the party members one to one before proceeding on the next leg of his tour.

Tory leadership hopeful Rishi Sunak chats to a youngster in Clitheroe