What would it mean for Richmond if Rishi Sunak becomes Prime Minister?

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, Conservative Party MP for Richmond (Yorks), arrives on Downing Street in London, England, on September 8, 2021.
Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak's team claims he could yet spring a surprise in the race for PM. Credit: PA

The winner of the Conservative leadership contest will be announced next week.

Following the announcement of the successful candidate at lunchtime on Monday 5 September, they will formally succeed Boris Johnson as Prime Minister the following day.

Opinion polls taken among Tory party members, whose votes will decide the contest, suggest Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is likely to gain a clear victory.

Rishi Sunak's team claim that he has attended far more local events around the country, meeting far more party members over the last few weeks, and could yet spring a surprise.

ITV News Tyne Tees has been looking at what it could mean for people in his constituency of Richmond, in North Yorkshire, if the former Chancellor landed the top job.

  • Video report by ITV News Tyne Tees Political Correspondent Tom Sheldrick

In the constituency

The region's last Prime Minister was Tony Blair

Throughout Tony Blair's decade as Prime Minister, John Burton ran his constituency office in Sedgefield.

Mr Burton admitted that Mr Blair could dedicate little time to local issues due to the workload of running the country, and so most was delegated to the constituency team, with increased staffing.

He said Mr Blair would visit the constituency once a month when he was Prime Minister, and they would speak at least once a week.

Mr Burton said his job was to "keep him in touch entirely with what's going on", and that the Prime Minister told him: "'You're the local MP, John, the only difference is you don't go to parliament.'"

He said they had to stop having surgeries, where constituents traditionally come to raise issues with their MP, because there were 100 people "just coming to see Tony and have a word".

Mr Burton told us that the MP becoming Prime Minister puts the constituency on the map, and can make "a big difference", for example with businesses choosing to locate there.

Protection for the PM

Being Prime Minister also brings increased security.

Harry Tangye is a former VIP protection officer with Devon and Cornwall Police.

He told ITV News Tyne Tees that, if Mr Sunak was to become Prime Minister, security would be increased from when he was Chancellor, but would be "not an awful lot different".

The Prime Minister's protection, he said, is led by a team from the Metropolitan Police, but police forces around the country have their own trained protection officers, who would be used for their "local knowledge and support".

Local forces are also said to provide the convoy vehicles used during visits, but they are often supplied by car companies who "like to have their vehicles put on TV with prime ministers walking out of them."

He added: "They lend them to the force for that particular time, they pick the vehicles up afterwards - no cost to the taxpayer."

Mr Tangye said taxpayers in North Yorkshire "definitely wouldn't" have to cover the wider cost of security arrangements, which are "centrally funded".

Mr Sunak has insisted he would not quit Parliament if he loses the leadership race, though his relationship with his constituency would change profoundly if he wins.

Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...