Rishi Sunak attempts bricklaying during Hartlepool visit

Laying the foundations for a leadership bid, Rishi? Millionaire Chancellor gets his hands dirty but spectacularly fails in his attempt to lay a brick in Hartlepool ahead of by-election as under fire Boris Johnson tries to get his premiership back on track

  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak visited Hartlepool today ahead of by-election on May 6
  • Mr Sunak tried his hand at bricklaying but was corrected after making a mistake
  • Came as Downing Street neighbour Boris Johnson tries to stabilise premiership 

Rishi Sunak today admitted that working with his hands is not one of his strengths after a botched attempt at bricklaying during a campaign visit to Hartlepool. 

The Chancellor tried his hand at building a wall as he visited the town’s Northern School of Art. 

But he had to be corrected after he tried to lay a brick the wrong way around.

His visit came just days before the Hartlepool by-election on May 6 and as his Downing Street neighbour Boris Johnson tries to stabilise his leadership after a series of rows. 

Rishi Sunak today tried his hand at building a wall as he visited Hartlepool’s Northern School of Art. Bricklayer Danny Honeyman had to point out that one of the Chancellor’s bricks was the wrong way around

Mr Sunak visited Hartlepool just days before a by-election which is due to take place on May 6

The Chancellor was shown the skills of students on a visual effects and model-making course, who had made him a replica of his Downing Street front door

Mr Sunak joined bricklayer Danny Honeyman to help on the construction of a new TV studio and, wearing a hard hat and protective clothing over his suit, he tapped two bricks into place.

But his second attempt was not as smooth as his first as Mr Honeyman had to point out that the brick was the wrong way around.

Asked if he was a perfectionist, Mr Sunak laughed and replied: ‘Yes, but definitely not at this. This is not my strong point.

‘As my kids would say, craft is not daddy’s (strong point). I should maybe have quit while I was ahead.’ 

Earlier, the Chancellor was shown the skills of students on a visual effects and model-making course, who had made him a replica of his Downing Street front door.

The Chancellor painted a number 11 on the model, which was created using a 3D printer from a photo of his famous address. 

Mr Sunak was today grilled about revelations that Mr Johnson’s personal phone number was easily accessible online amid warnings from experts it could put the PM at increased risk of snooping.  

Mr Sunak played down fears that the PM had opened himself up to possible covert activity by hostile states and exploitation by criminal gangs after it emerged that his personal contact details had been accessible on the internet for the past 15 years.

Lord Ricketts, the UK’s first national security adviser, said the disclosure could mean ‘thousands’ of people have Mr Johnson’s mobile number, putting him at ‘increased risk’.

But Mr Sunak said: ‘As far as I’m aware, all security protocols have been followed.

‘Part of what makes the Prime Minister special is that he is an incredibly approachable individual.

Mr Sunak’s visit came after revelations that Boris Johnson’s personal phone number was easily accessible online. The PM is pictured on a visit to a school in London yesterday

‘You see it wherever he is out and about – people feel they can relate to him, they can talk to him, they can tell him what’s on their mind.’

It yesterday emerged that Mr Johnson’s contact number was still listed this year at the bottom of a 2006 press release dating back to when he was shadow higher education minister.

It follows a row in recent weeks over so-called Government-by-text after it emerged that lobbyists and others from the business world had personally messaged the Prime Minister in a bid to get him to intervene in issues.

Downing Street did not deny reports earlier this month that Cabinet Secretary Simon Case advised Mr Johnson to change his long-held phone number because of concerns over how many people had his direct contact details.

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