"Boundary changes" is the reason former County Durham MP and Tory party chairman is unable to find a North East seat to stand in at the general election, the Prime Minister has said.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has blamed boundary changes as the reason the Conservative Party Chairman Richard Holden has been unable to find a seat to stand in for the upcoming general election.

Speaking at Redcar Racecourse for the launch of the Conservative party battle bus today (June 1), Mr Sunak said the boundary shake-up "changes things".

The Northern Echo: Rishi Sunak launches the Conservative Party tour bus at Redcar racecourse.Rishi Sunak launches the Conservative Party tour bus at Redcar racecourse. (Image: STUART BOULTON)

The party chairman and former North West Durham MP confirmed himself earlier this week that he has been left with just seven days to find a seat to stand in as an MP.

Speaking to The Northern Echo while canvassing with Darlington MP Peter Gibson on Thursday (May 30), Richard Holden confirmed that he will not be standing in the region and he might not even be standing in the North of England at all.

Mr Holden was elected MP for North West Durham at the 2019 general election, but that seat is being removed as part of a major shake-up of parliamentary constituency boundaries. 

Mr Holden said: "I have got a week to find a seat. So we will hopefully get one. I would have liked to stay in the North East but it is just not going to happen.

The Northern Echo: Richard Holden.Richard Holden. (Image: LDR)

"I would even like to stay in the North but I don't know if that is going to happen either.

"We are just going to have to see."

When asked by the Echo about Mr Holden why he has not found a seat and where he is set to stand in just four weeks, PM Rishi Sunak said boundary reviews "change things".

Speaking in Redcar on Saturday (June 1), Mr Sunak said: “Because we have had a boundary review, which is done independently by the electoral commission, that does change things.

“We haven’t had a boundary review in a very long time and when that happens seats get abolished and change which is why you’ve seen some of the changes you have.

“But what I can tell you is that we have fantastic candidates across the North East – they are doing a phenomenal job and look at what they are delivering for the country.”

However, Mr Sunak did not reveal where and if Mr Holden will be standing when the nation heads the polls on July 4. 

The Prime Minister was in the region today for the launch of the party's election campaign and its battle bus where he delivered a short speech in front of the brand new Conservative battle bus emboldened with the slogan ‘clear plan, bold action, secure future’.

Mr Sunak said: “The last few years have been tough. You know that I know that. COVID, the war and Ukraine, but I hope you also know that during these tough times, I had your back.

“Whether it was with the furlough scheme and support for energy bills. Together as a country, we are now through those tough times and look at what’s happening.

“Inflation down from 11 per cent to 2 per cent, the economy growing faster than France, Germany, and America, energy bills falling, wages rising and that shows that our plan is working.”


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He later added: “Keir Starmer and the Labour Party want you to believe this election is over before it has even started.

“(They want you to believe) the result is a forgotten conclusion but you know what? I’m going to work my socks off every day on this campaign and talk to as many people as I can.

“I think the public don’t like to be taken for granted... we are putting bold ideas on the table. We have heard nothing new from the Labour Party - not a single new idea about what they would do for the future.”