MP welcomes Sunak visit saying: 'More going on than just in Westminster bubble'

North Devon Gazette

North Devon MP Selaine Saxby says she is 'delighted' Chancellor Rishi Sunak went ahead with his visit to her area - just as his boss Boris Johnson was getting a mauling in the House of Commons in the latest 'partygate' scandal.Â

Mr Sunak was in Ilfracombe yesterday to visit the Pall Corporation and welcome their announcement of a £60 million investment into the Ilfracombe site, along with 200 new jobsÂ

Ms Saxby said: "It was an absolute pleasure to welcome Chancellor Rishi Sunak to Ilfracombe."Â

She added: "I strive to bring ministers to North Devon and the south west, to see all of the wonderful things we have to offer, and also to understand the support that we too need in levelling up, and how our remoteness and rurality brings different challenges (as well as joys) to more urban areas.Â

"I appreciate that many people are concentrating more on where the Chancellor was not, rather than where he was. This was a planned visit to a major employer in North Devon and having come a considerable distance I was delighted that his schedule facilitated meeting other businesses and residents to hear what they had to say.Â

"There is more going on in this country than what is happening in the Westminster bubble and I believe it is vital that ministers see and experience that first hand whenever they have the opportunity."Â

After the Pall Corporation visit Mr Sunak joined a private event at The Landmark Theatre where he met many local business owners and residents and heard their views, concerns and answer questions. Â

"So many local businesses have benefited from government support, and it was great to hear them thank the Chancellor directly," said Ms Saxby.Â

Questions ranged from concerns about local housing and finding staff, as well as the cost of living, levelling up the south west, energy pricing and the pace of trying to reach net zero.Â

There is speculation that Mr Sunak is favourite to replace Mr Johnson as the Prime Minister faces growing demands to resign despite yesterday apologising to Parliament for the lockdown party after finally admitting that he was present at the event during the first Covid shutdown.Â

Mr Sunak broke his silence on the affair last night when he posted on Twitter: "I’ve been on a visit all day today continuing work on our #PlanForJobs as well as meeting MPs to discuss the energy situation. The PM was right to apologise and I support his request for patience while Sue Gray carries out her enquiry."Â

During his visit to Devon, Mr Sunak was shown around the factory run by Pall, which make filters to purify liquid and air, and learned about their role in the global vaccine production.Â