Boris Johnson surprises bank holiday diners with visit to Hartlepool fish and chip restaurant
Boris Johnson has made a third visit to Hartlepool in just over a month as the Conservatives eye up a possible election upset.
The Prime Minister was at Surfside Fish Bar and Restaurant at Seaton Carew on Bank Holiday Monday with just four days to go before the town’s by-election to decide its new MP.
He mingled and chatted with surprised diners before making a cup of coffee inside.
Polls suggest the Tories could break through Labour’s ‘red wall’ in Hartlepool and take the seat with candidate Jill Mortimer for the first time since it was created in 1974.
But Mr Johnson said he was not counting his chickens. He said: “You’d have to say the odds were against a Conservative victory here just on the sheer history of the seat, but we’ve a fantastic candidate in Jill Mortimer and I think we have got the right vision, and we’ve got a vision for change.
"I think people are listening to that and they’re seeing it, and they will see change and they will see improvement.”
The PM previously visited medical diagnostics company Hart Biologicals, at Queen’s Meadow Business Park, on April 1 and Hartlepool United on April 23.
Independent by-election candidate Sam Lee has accused Labour and the Tories of just visiting Hartlepool for ‘cheap photo opportunities’.
In response Mr Johnson said: “Our party has changed and is changing I think in a profoundly good way.”
He said it was due to Tory Tees Valley Mayoral candidate Ben Houchen and changes to Teesside Airport that he was able to visit the North East more easily.
At Seaton Carew, Mr Johnson asked visitors and residents if he could count on their vote and posed for selfies.
Surfside customer Anthony Skordins, 45, from Seaton, said: “I will be voting Conservative.
"To have got through what he’s got through he’s done as well as anyone I think.
"I think he’s a likeable character.”
Surfside owner Rebecca Sandisk said: “We’re very grateful he chose our restaurant to visit. It was a nice surprise.”
Other high-profile Cabinet members have also come to Hartlepool include Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has also visited three times recently in support of party candidate Dr Paul Williams.