A bid to bring the home of the world famous Red Arrows to Yorkshire has been launched by a Conservative MP.
Richmond MP Rishi Sunak said RAF Leeming in in North Yorkshire would be an “ideal fit” for the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team of pilots, engineers and support staff.
The RAF is currently in the process of selecting a new base for the Red Arrows following a decision announced in the summer to close their current home – RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.
Mr Sunak said the Yorkshire base has several advantages over its rivals with a “rich heritage” of hosting the RAF, including several Bomber Command bases during the Second World War.
In a letter to Scarborough-born Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, Mr Sunak said the presence at RAF Leeming of the 100 Squadron flying Hawk T1 fast jets - the same aircraft used by the Red Arrows - also gave the Yorkshire base an edge.
RAF Leeming also has the capacity to accommodate the team having benefited from “substantial investment” in the past when it was home to two squadrons of Tornado fighter bombers, he said.
Mr Sunak also highlighted recent investment in local infrastructure, including the £400m upgrade of the A1 which has given the base a new junction and access to the motorway network and the improvement of local roads with the completion of the Aiskew-Bedale-Leeming bypass.
The MP said: “North Yorkshire has a rich heritage of hosting the Royal Air Force dating back to the Second World War when Bomber Command had many bases in the area.
“This proud heritage has been maintained through the years when RAF Leeming played a leading role in the UK’s air defences in the 1980s and 1990s. This role saw major investment by the Ministry of Defence in the base’s facilities which is still in place.”
He concludes: “I can assure the Ministry that the Red Arrows team and their families would be given the warmest of welcomes.”
Mr Sunak’s call has been backed by the Mayors of the two towns nearest to the base.
Councillor John Forrest, Mayor of Northallerton, said: “The community of Northallerton would very much welcome this.
“Having the Red Arrows based here would be very good for the area. The town has longstanding links with the RAF and we would be immensely proud to have the Red Arrows based here.”
Councillor Andrew Hallett, Mayor of Bedale, said relocating the Red Arrows to RAF Leeming would have his “full personal support” and the matter would be raised at Monday’s meeting of Bedale Town Council, where consideration would be given to formally backing the idea.