PRIME Minister Boris Johnson has insisted that he has the faith of the North East electorate, despite facing further questioning over the Sue Gray report and Partygate scandal during a visit to the region.

Following further images of Mr Johnson being circulated in the national press of him partaking in a gathering in Downing Street, the leader of the UK visited Stockton-on-Tees on Friday (May 27).

During his time in Teesside, he toured around Cityfibre’s DTN Training Academy to learn about the roll-out of broadband at the skills centre and push the employment agenda in the North East.

Read more: Boris Johnson: Prime Minister visits Stockton on North East tour

After his visit to the factory site, the Prime Minister was seen greeting people and taking selfies on Stockton high street, alongside Stockton South MP, Matt Vickers, and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Therese Coffey.

Despite his visit to push the ‘Levelling Up’ scheme, the PM’s visit to Teesside was overshadowed by controversy connected to Sue Gray’s report, released earlier this week, and Partygate.

After being challenged about reports of drinking, vomiting, scrapping, scuffles in Downing Street, and the fact that it would be a sackable offence if it was in any other place of work, Mr Johnson confirmed that “significant” changes have been made at Number 10.

The Northern Echo: Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Stockton on Friday (May 27). Picture: NUMBER10.Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Stockton on Friday (May 27). Picture: NUMBER10.

He also claimed that his involvement in the gatherings was “limited,” as well as claiming that his birthday celebrations “wasn’t festive”

Speaking to The Northern Echo, the Prime Minister said: “If you look to see what has happened already in Number 10, there have been some significant changes – on people who were there that are no longer there.

“As for my own involvement, it’s clear in the report if you look at the events I was at. Like I said a couple of days ago, I was there for a brief period to say thank you and farewell to staff and an event in the Cabinet room – at lunchtime, which was meant to be my birthday – it wasn’t particularly festive, let me tell you.”

The Northern Echo: The PM was all smiles with members of the public in Stockton on Friday (May 27). Picture: NUMBER10.The PM was all smiles with members of the public in Stockton on Friday (May 27). Picture: NUMBER10.

When asked about whether he was the correct leader for the North East – Mr Johnson insisted that he was “absolutely the right man” for the region, before highlighting the benefits of the government’s “transformative” plans.   

“I don’t think it’s my job to give a running political commentary – absolutely, the government agenda is the right one for the North East and the UK,” Mr Johnson added.

“We’re here in Stockton-on-Tees, looking at fast roll-out of gigabit broadband – crucial to UK.

The Northern Echo: The politician visits Cityfibre’s DTN Training Academy. Picture: NUMBER10.The politician visits Cityfibre’s DTN Training Academy. Picture: NUMBER10.

“We’re doing things across the UK that are going to be transformative, if you look at Ben Houchen and what he’s doing – economic campus in Darlington, trains cuts 40-minute journey time from Darlington to Birmingham, 40 minutes from Darlington to Manchester and that attracts jobs and drives growth.

“The acid test for, me, unemployment to the lowest level since 1984.”

These comments from the Prime Minister come after heavy criticism from Labour MPs across the North East – including Middlesbrough MP, Andy McDonald, who asked Mr Johnson how he sleeps at night “with so much blood on his filthy privileged hands” in the House of Commons earlier this week.

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