Rishi Sunak jokes he's 'avoided pneumonia' after wet election launch - as he explains Downing Street call to Yorkshire voters at Wetherspoon's

25 May 2024, 10:02 | Updated: 25 May 2024, 12:34

The prime minister has joked he avoided catching pneumonia after making his election announcement speech outside Number 10 in the pouring rain.

Speaking during a breakfast meeting with ex-servicemen in his constituency of Richmond, North Yorkshire, Rishi Sunak assured concerned local Vicky Rudd of his health, but couldn’t guarantee his suit survived the wet weather.

He told the group at The Buck Inn Wetherspoon's pub on Saturday: "It was wet. The number of people who have given me an umbrella over the last couple of days…"

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Mr Sunak added: "That’s our tradition, the prime minister, in the big moments, they call the election and they go out there.

"I thought, come rain or shine, it’s the right thing to do.

"But no pneumonia yet, my suit on the other hand... I'm not quite sure what state it will be in when I get back down to London."

The prime minister also held back from tucking into one of the six large breakfasts that were brought over to the group of eight veterans.

He spoke with the group for around 20 minutes and did not take any questions from the media.

His visit comes after Bim Afolami, the Treasury minister, dismissed suggestions the prime minister was "taking the day off" campaigning.

"It's not right," Mr Afolami told Sky News when asked if the prime minister was having a day off. "He's going to be campaigning in Yorkshire."

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The prime minister has faced a difficult first two days of campaigning, encountering several hiccups on his UK-wide tour.

A visit to the Titanic Quarter in Belfast invited undesirable "sinking ship" comparisons with his party's fortunes, while at a brewery in Wales, he made a footballing gaffe about the Euros.

Despite this, Mr Sunak insists he is "pumped up" and "up for the fight" against Labour's Sir Keir Starmer.

This weekend, clashes between the two parties on the economy are set to take centre stage as Sir Keir begins campaigning in the West Midlands on the cost of living crisis.