THE new chairman of the Skipton and Ripon Conservative Association has said he would continue to emphasise the need for inclusivity in the party.

In a speech at the association's annual meeting, Nick Bannister, of Coniston Cold, told members he would also work to increase the number of young people in the party and promote business forums throughout the constituency.

He said that the local elections in May are a priority for the association and that he would be supporting candidates throughout the area on their campaign days.

Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith congratulated Mr Bannister. He added that he was anticipating a busy year ahead, and he welcomed the opportunity of working closely with the new officer team.

Mr Bannister has taken over the chairmanship from Cllr Bernard Bateman of Ripon.