Rishi Sunak gets behind the wheel of an armoured car in visit to South West

Rishi Sunak sat behind the wheel of an armoured vehicle, met the custodians of a community pub and took lessons from an apprentice on the campaign trail on Thursday.

In his final visit of a whistlestop tour across Cornwall and Devon, the Prime Minister found himself clambering into the seat of a Jackal 3, the latest in a range of armoured vehicles being manufactured at Devon-based company Supacat.

Joining Mr Sunak in the vehicle was Simon Jupp, Tory MP for East Devon.

Just feet away in a lineup of other armoured vehicles made by Supacat was a model recently featured in Clarkson’s Farm, the hit Amazon Prime television programme featuring Jeremy Clarkson.

General Election campaign 2024
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride talking to community members during his visit to The Drewe Arms Community Pub, Exeter, Devon, while on the General Election campaign trail (Aaron Chown/PA)

In Drewsteignton in central Devon, Rishi Sunak met with a group of people who had taken over community ownership of a village pub.

He sat at a long table with the pub’s committee and drank a pint of lemonade from a traditional beer mug.

He was joined by Mel Stride, the Work and Pensions Secretary and Conservative MP for Central Devon.

General Election campaign 2024
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak celebrates after being shown how to splice a wire by field service engineer apprentice, Kiri James (right) during his visit to Wildanet Technical Training Academy in Liskeard, Cornwall, while on the General Election campaign trail (Aaron Chown/PA)

In the corner of the small pub room otherwise filled with Prime Minister, his team, and the pack of travelling photographers and journalists, two French tourists watched the scene with bemusement.

Mr Sunak was earlier told he had perfectly spliced a fibre optic broadband cable during a visit to the South West.

He met apprentices at Wildanet in Liskeard, a company upgrading broadband connections in Cornwall and Devon, where he was given a chance to try out their technical skills.

After unsheathing a cable from a blue casing and wiping it with alcohol gel, he used a small device to join it with another.

Kiri James, 30, a field service engineer apprentice who led a demonstration for the Prime Minister, ran the cable through a testing machine and said he had carried out a perfect splice.

Mr Sunak pumped his arms in the air to celebrate, as Ms James told him “Yep, that was a perfect splice. If you are looking for a job in telecoms…”

The Prime Minister had earlier visited Long Rock train depot in Penzance where he also met apprentices while promoting plans to boost apprenticeships while axing “rip off” degrees.