PRIME Minister Rishi Sunak today went on walkabout in Winchester High Street during a visit to Hampshire.

He was spotted outside Winchester Bakery with city MP Steve Brine and Meon Valley MP Flick Drummond.

Mr Sunak spoke to passers-by and posed for selfies with surprised shoppers on a short walk along the High Street.

The visit was unannounced and a return for the PM to the city where he was educated, Winchester College in the 1990s.

It was a short visit as his car and police escort were shortly afterwards seen driving up Union Street and Durngate towards the M3.

Staff at the Winchester Bakery told the Chronicle he ordered an English breakfast tea and a cinnamon swirl. They said he arrived unannounced, which was tricky as only two members of staff were working. 

Earlier he had said it's important "fabulous green spaces around Winchester" are protected from overdevelopment.

Hampshire Chronicle: PM Rishi Sunak in WinchesterPM Rishi Sunak in Winchester (Image: Contributed)

Mr Sunak was at the Silverlake Stadium just outside Eastleigh today to meet the first team squad, coaches and volunteers, with Eastleigh MP Paul Holmes.

Eastleigh FC recently had an impressive run in the FA Cup, and was just one win away from a third-round home tie against Manchester United.

During the visit, Mr Sunak spoke to reporters on a wide range of issues. 

In response to a question on the financial plight of local councils, he said: "The funding councils have received from government has gone up in real terms after inflation every year. On average this year, the total amount of money council have to spend on services has gone up by around ten per cent. That will vary by council. 

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"The government is investing in our local communities through our levelling scheme and high streets and towns fund. 

"It's right that these things are looked into because the debt situation at Eastleigh Borough Council is concerning. Ultimately, it's tax-payers and residents' money. The council should be held accountable."

Mr Sunak was also asked about increased planning pressures on the Hampshire countryside.

He said: "We have to get the balance right. We promised that we would build one million homes in this parliament and I'm pleased we're on track to deliver that because young people need to earn their own home and that is the type of country we want to live in. 

"But it's important those homes are built in the right places and that's why we have said we are in favour of protecting the green belt and not imposing top-down planning targets on local communities. 

"There are fabulous green spaces around Winchester. Local people want to protect those spaces."

Mr Sunak also gave his thoughts on the marginal Conservative seats of Winchester and Eastleigh. He said: "I feel confident because people appreciate the last few years haven't been easy. But people can see that we are now pointing in the right direction and we're making progress. 

"Ultimately a vote for anyone who isn't a Conservative candidate is going to put Kier Starmer in power."

The Prime Minister has a close connection with Hampshire. He was born in Southampton and is an avid Saints fan. He was also educated at Winchester College in the 1990s.