Drinkers in a York pub last night saw a special visitor call in for a glass of lemonade.

After a bit of door-knocking in the Poppleton area concerning the May local elections, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak popped into the Lord Nelson.

There, the PM met locals and engaged in conversation and questions at the popular 18th Century CAMRA favourite.

Pub landlord Tom Brown said the visit was arranged by Arif Khalfe, who is the Conservative Party candidate for the Rural West York ward of City of York Council.

Some 10-15 were expected for a drink but then a few minutes before his arrival was told the PM was coming, along with small business minister Kevin Hollinrake MP.

Tom said of the 7pm visit: “He walked around the pub and talked to a few customers. There was a few who wanted to talk to him.”

Tom Brown takes Lord Nelson in Poppleton to new heights

Tom had a chat with Mr Sunak and Mr Hollinrake about the issues facing pubs and the hospitality sector.

He said of the PM: “He’s a nice, friendly guy. He listened to what people had to say. He was given some tough questions. He approached people and did not know if they were supporters or not. He had a lemonade and said he was glad to see the pub was so busy.”

Tom has since posted on the pub’s Facebook page that he hoped the PM saw how important pubs are for so many and he hopes he does ‘the right things’ to support the many struggling hospitality businesses.

The pub landlord added today that he had received ‘mixed opinions’ about the visit.

Tom commented: “We work in the hospitality industry and a main part of our jobs is being hospitable and creating a friendly and welcoming atmosphere within the pub.

“We love meeting and welcoming all sorts of different people into the Nelson. Being an inhospitable pub would go against every value The Lord Nelson stands for.”

He added: “We hold no political allegiance. Last night was a great opportunity to speak to the Prime Minister and Kevin Hollinrake MP about the struggles the hospitality industry is facing.”

Earlier, the PM heard on the doorstep about York issues such as rising council tax, blue badge restrictions and road closures.

Conservative Group Leader, Paul Doughty (Strensall ward) said the PM’s visit will energise the Tory campaign.

Cllr Doughty said of the PM: “With his talent and natural way, he is a great asset on the campaign trail. This was clear tonight when a natural Labour voter said she was thrilled to meet Mr Sunak in person and will now reconsider her voting intentions."

Kevin Hollinrake added: "Delighted to have the PM with us knocking on doors in Poppleton last night and in the Lord Nelson pub afterwards, where he received a very warm reception including a massive round of applause from supporters and regulars alike."