Boris Johnson has said the Conservatives face a “tough fight” to win the Hartlepool by-election.
During a rainy visit to a seafront fish and chip restaurant in the constituency, the Prime Minister was asked if he was concerned whether interest in his childcare arrangements or his flat refurbishment might affect the vote.
Mr Johnson said: “I have always believed that it was going to be a tough fight and I still believe that is the case.”
He hoped people would focus on the “massive opportunities” the Tories had brought by delivering on Brexit – a policy strongly backed by local people.
The Prime Minister, asked if he was worried he might have a negative effect on the election, said: “I think that people will focus on the issues that matter to them.
“That is the vaccine rollout, the chances of our economy bouncing back really strongly in the second half of this year, what we are doing to make sure that happens.”
Mr Johnson spoke to diners at the Surfside Fish Bar and Restaurant who were braving the elements to eat or sip coffees outside as the rain started to fall at lunchtime.
The popular cafe is in Seaton Carew and overlooks the North Sea close to the spot where canoe man John Darwin faked his own death in 2002.