Former chancellor Rishi Sunak has visited Harpenden as part of his campaign to become the next Conservative Party leader.

Mr Sunak met Conservative activists at an event hosted by Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami yesterday (Wednesday, June 27).

He said he wanted to enact "real change in Harpenden and across the United Kingdom" to win his party a fifth term in government come the next general election, which is due in 2024.

%image(14502262, type="article-full", alt="Rishi Sunak in Newmarket, Suffolk on the same day as his visit to Harpenden (Wednesday, July 27)")

Rishi Sunak said: "It was a delight to be in Harpenden to meet our fantastic local members and activists.

"We want to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to access a world-class education, have a good job and the option to buy their own home.

"By enacting real change in Harpenden and across the United Kingdom, we can win an unprecedented fifth term, beating Labour in the 'red wall' and the Liberal Democrats in the south."

Rishi Sunak launched his party leadership bid in early June after Boris Johnson became the third Conservative prime minister to announce his resignation since 2010, after David Cameron and Theresa May.

Either Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss, foreign secretary, will become the next Tory leader.

In St Albans City and District, which includes Harpenden, the Conservatives have suffered major losses in recent months.

In an all-out election in May 2022, the Tories lost 18 council seats with the Liberal Democrats making 20 gains.

Mr Sunak said: "As chancellor, I confirmed over £100 billion of investment across this spending review period to support levelling up.

"I want people in all communities, from Harpenden to Halifax, to feel pride in the place that they call home.

"In Harpenden, I have been working closely with Bim, and this relationship will continue when I become prime minister."

Mr Sunak's opponent, Liz Truss, has said her priorities lie with "delivering Brexit" and "leading the free world against Putin".

%image(14502263, type="article-full", alt="Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss taking part in the BBC Conservative leadership debate "Our Next Prime Minister", filmed in Stoke-on-Trent on Monday, July 25")

%image(14502264, type="article-full", alt="Liz Truss at a children's charity in Peterborough on her Conservative Party leadership campaign trail")

She said her July campaign launch speech: "We will review the taxation of families to ensure people aren’t penalised for taking time out to care for their children or elderly relatives.

"We will turbocharge the rural economy by focusing on farmers growing food and cutting the pointless regulation that gets in their way.

"We need to be honest with the public."