Prime Minister Rishi Sunak makes surprise visit to Ripon
Last updated Apr 2, 2024

Ripon received a surprise visitor when Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrived for an unannounced hour-long walkabout and meetings with local businesses and politicians.

Yesterday’s Totally Locally street party organised by the city’s independent traders and supported by Ripon Business Improvement District, provided a platform for Mr Sunak, along with Keane Duncan, the Conservative Party candidate for next month’s York and North Yorkshire mayoral election, to mingle with crowds on Market Square.

The Bank Holiday Monday event, which was launched last year, is designed to raise awareness of what the ancient city has to offer in a modern-day economy.

BID manager Lilla Bathurst, said:

“The Prime Minister was able to see for himself what the collaborative efforts of Ripon’s strong mix of independent retail and  hospitality businesses can achieve.

“There are clear indicators, both in terms of the investment in new openings and refurbishments in the city centre and footfall analysis, that a post-pandemic revival is underway.”

City councillor and deputy mayor elect Jackie Crozier (pictured below)  whose award-winning Little Bird Made artisan markets are held on Market Square and locations across Yorkshire, introduced Mr Sunak to coffee maker Tom Bolland of the Happy Barista — a regular attendee  at the Little Bird events.

For 11-year-old Lilly, daughter of Ripon City Council leader Andrew Williams, there was an opportunity for a photograph with Mr Sunak outside Ripon’s historic town hall.

Rishi Sunak, pictured with Cllr Andrew Williams and his daughter Lilly.

Cllr Williams said:

“There’s an interesting fact that links our current Prime Minster with one dating back to 1827, because the Marquess of Ripon, who donated the town hall building to the then borough council in 1897 after two terms as mayor of the city, was born at 10 Downing Street while his father Viscount Goderich was in office.”

Mayoral candidates

The election for the first mayor of the York and North Yorkshire combined authority will take place on Thursday May 2 and, in addition to the Conservative Keane Duncan, the other candidates are:

  • Felicity Cunliffe-Lister (Lib Dem)
  • Kevin Foster (Green Party)
  • Paul Haslam (Independent)
  • David Skaith (Labour),
  • Keith Tordoff (Independent)
Main image: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is discussion with Ripon BID manager Lilla Bathurst.

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