Page last updated at 11:45 GMT, Thursday, 2 July 2009 12:45 UK

Phone-in leads to shock PM visit


Gordon Brown is in West Yorkshire as part of a three-day tour of the country

The owners of a fishmongers in Leeds got a surprise visit from the prime minister after tackling him about help for recession-hit small businesses.

Michelle Hayes who runs the family stall Thomas Hayes and Sons in Kirkgate market rang Gordon Brown during a phone-in at BBC Radio Leeds.

Mr Brown said someone would be in touch, but then changed his mind and paid a personal visit to the market.

Ms Hayes' husband Cliff Hocken said he was very shocked by the visit.

Mr Hocken said: "It was very nice to see. The fact that he's a human at the end of the day and he's tried to understand the problems that are arising."

Best wishes for your business and tell your wife I appreciated her call
Gordon Brown

Ms Hayes had earlier rung to question the prime minister about the lack of help for family-run businesses during the recession.

Addressing Mr Brown, she said: "My husband and I have had a small family business in Leeds Kirkgate market for 25 years this week and we should be celebrating, but we're not.

"I would like to hear from you what the government are doing to help family businesses during the recession.

"I can assure you we're getting no help whatsoever."

Mr Brown said a government official would be in touch, but after the phone-in he decided to go the short distance to discuss what help they could receive.

As he was leaving Mr Brown said to Mr Hocken: "Best wishes for your business and tell your wife I appreciated her call. She's a very persuasive woman and you should be proud of her."

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