Boris Johnson meets 30ft inflatable doppelganger on visit to Hartlepool

The Prime Minister said the replica reminded him of Superintendent Ted Hastings from Line Of Duty.

Boris Johnson met a 30ft inflatable version of himself during a victorious visit to Hartlepool after his party won a historic by-election.

The Prime Minister said the £2,000 replica reminded him of Superintendent Ted Hastings from Line Of Duty, while a member of the press asked if he thought it looked like TV host Chris Tarrant.

Members of Hartlepool’s business community caused a stir when they erected the inflatable outside the town’s by-election count at 4am.

And by lunchtime they had moved it to the marina, the site of the Prime Minister’s news conference and visit to congratulate the winning Tory candidate Jill Mortimer.

Mr Johnson went for a walkabout along the marina followed by a media scrum, as well as members of the public who asked him to pose for selfies and shouted support for him.

The Prime Minister appeared unperturbed when the inflatable seemed to be collapsing in the breeze before its owners managed to bring it under control.

Hartlepool by-election
The 30ft inflatable in Hartlepool, County Durham, following Jill Mortimer’s victory (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Earlier, the 20-strong group, known as the Hartlepool Wombles, said their 4am stunt was not a political statement but rather that it heralded a historic change in the town.

The inflatable prime minister, with thumbs aloft, was one of several blow-up characters they have bought to bring a sense of fun to different parts of the town with the aim of portraying it in a good light.

One of the group, who asked not to be named, said: “We are doing this to mark a historic change in Hartlepool.

“I’m not particularly political, in fact I didn’t even vote.

“I think this shows Hartlepool in a positive light and the town has always had a quirky personality.”

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