MP calls Richmond in North Yorkshire 'the Surrey of the north'

An unnamed Yorkshire MP has described the Richmond parliamentary constituency held by Rishi Sunak as 'the posh bit' of Yorkshire.

The grounds of Kiplin Hall, near Richmond
The grounds of Kiplin Hall, near Richmond

The Sunday Times has spoken to associates and friends of the Chancellor and Exchequer for an in-depth profile of his life and career which was published today.

Rishi Sunak MP has held the Richmond seat since 2015, and the Conservatives since 1910. It's long been considered one of the party's safest heartlands, with former leader William Hague holding it from 1989 until 2015.

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It has a mostly rural population, a prominent agricultural sector, and constituents are overwhelmingly 'self-supporting', meaning very few receive welfare payments from the state.

The historic market town of Richmond

Yet the anonymous source - who also represents a Yorkshire seat - has gone even further, by describing Richmond and its surrounding district as 'the posh bit' of Yorkshire and likening it to 'the Surrey of the north'.

The quoted MP went on to say 'there is almost no deprivation' in the constituency and that Conservative Central Office were influential in Sunak's selection as Hague's successor.

Sunak won over 50 per cent of the Richmond Conservative Association's vote after a hustings in front of 300 members at Tennants auction house in Leyburn in 2014.

Sunak and his family live in a Georgian manor house in the village of Kirby Sigston, near Northallerton, with 12 acres of grounds. They host a lavish garden party every summer and are involved in local life. The Chancellor has been photographed hiking in the nearby Hambleton Hills.

Surrey may have the Thames, but Richmond has the River Swale and its falls

Richmondshire or Surrey?

- Surrey may be home to Hampton Court - a favoured palace of King Henry VIII - but Richmond has Kiplin Hall, a country house with extensive grounds and gardens; not to mention the fortress of Richmond Castle.

- Cyclists in Surrey make the pilgrimage to Box Hill - it's within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and was part of the 2012 Olympic road race route - but in Richmondshire the Hambleton Hills can be found. This range of Jurassic-era peaks includes an Iron Age hill fort, Roulston Scar. Perfect for walking and cycling.

- The River Thames may meander through Surrey on its way to London, but the River Swale is a wilder and more beautiful river. On hot days visitors flock to the cascades at Richmond Falls to swim and paddle.

- Surrey's Thorpe Park is one of the largest theme parks in the country - but far quirkier is Forbidden Corner in Coverdale. This pleasure garden is laid out like a maze and is full of tunnels, grottos, labyrinths and bizarre sculptures.