Reporter Richard puts PM on spot in latest career first

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was put on the spot by one our reporters on transport infrastructure plans for the South West during a visit to the region.

South Hams Newspapers journalist Richard Harding quizzed the PM as part of a media huddle at a submarine factory in Plymouth.

After his first encounter with a serving Prime Minister, Richard explains: “A group of regional reporters from press, radio and TV gathered and we were allowed strictly one question each.

“Mine was about transport and I asked the Prime Minister if he would consider using some of the money saved by not extending the high speed HS2 into projects such as extending the M5 motorway to Plymouth, electrifying the rail line and supporting the reopening of Plymouth City Airport.”

You can read the Prime Minister’s response in the resulting article here.

Career first

Richard, who joined South Hams Newspapers in 2021 following an extensive career as a radio presenter and journalist, said:  “I have always been interested in politics so it was very interesting to meet my first serving Prime Minister, having twice interviewed John Major for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

“It was frustrating to be only allowed one question with no follow-ups but they were one of the conditions of the so-called ‘huddle’. In his answer Mr Sunak would not go into specifics except to say they were doing more on potholes.”

To capture the encounter, Richard was able to call upon the services of a prominent local MP to take the resulting photo.

Richard explains: “After taking questions from the reporters around the table the PM bounded towards the door but not before I collared him for a photo which was kindly taken by Johnny Mercer, MP for Plymouth Moor View.”

International work

Meeting a serving PM is another first for Richard in a career which has seen him work internationally as well as for four trusted Tindle community titles.

He said: “I joined South Hams Newspapers as a reporter in 2021 after a 30-year career in radio that began in 1988 on a pirate radio station based on a ship anchored in the Mediterranean off Tel Aviv in Israel called the Voice of Peace and broadcasting to the Middle East.

“I then moved to another offshore pirate station, Radio Caroline, in the North Sea before working for a variety of commercial and BBC local radio stations.

“Having lived in France for several years, I worked on Voltage FM in Paris and then Channel Travel Radio based at the Channel Tunnel where I was able to use my French.

“My radio career also included 15 years at Tindle’s Island FM in Guernsey and some work at Channel 103FM in Jersey so as far as I know I am the first person to have worked for both Tindle Radio and Tindle Newspapers separately.”

You can read the full article on the PM’s visit here.

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