Prime Minister Boris Johnson shows off his football skills during visit to Hartlepool United
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has paid a second visit to Hartlepool in just a month in support of the Conservative Party’s bid to win the Hartlepool by-election.
Mr Johnson’s April 23 visit to Hartlepool – during which he posed for photographs on Hartlepool United’s Victoria Park pitch – followed just hours after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was also in town to tour Camerons Brewery in support of his party’s candidate, Dr Paul Williams, who is bidding to retain a seat Labour has held for 57 years.
Both Mr Johnson and Sir Keir have now visited Hartlepool twice with still just over a fortnight to go before voters choose Hartlepool’s next MP on Thursday, May 6.
The Prime Minister enjoyed a kickabout on the Victoria Park turf with members of the club’s youth and women’s teams.
He was also presented with a Pools shirt with the number 10 and “Boris” written on the back.
His visit followed the collapse of the controversial European Super League scheme involving six Premier League clubs which the Government opposed.
Mr Johnson said the Government had provided around £200m to support smaller football clubs through the pandemic.
And he told the Mail the best thing they can do to help clubs like Hartlepool was to continue on his road map to lifting lockdown and all restrictions by June 21.
The Government is also looking at Covid certificates for a return of fans to stadiums.
Mr Johnson said: “I would want to be in a situation where we’ve got so many people vaccinated where the levels of immunity are so high in the population, the pandemic is down so far we can just return to life pretty much as normal and that will be the best thing for clubs like Hartlepool.”
With less then two weeks to the by-election, the PM said it will be a “big challenge” to win Hartlepool which has been Labour for more than 50 years.
But he said: “On the other hand we’ve got a fantastic candidate in Jill Mortimer but we’ve also got a vision for change on Teesside including Hartlepool.”
The Prime Minister was last in town at the start of the month when he toured Hart Biologicals, on Queen’s Meadow Business Park, before surprising residents in Mildenhall Close, on the Fens estate, by going on an impromptu walkabout.