Rishi Sunak has said he is “pumped up” and enjoying himself two days into the General Election campaign, despite a difficult start that saw him soaked in Downing Street as he announced the election, make a footballing gaffe and be mocked for visiting the Titanic Quarter.

The Prime Minister has been on a whirlwind tour of the UK since announcing the poll on Wednesday, travelling to Derbyshire, Cardiff and the Scottish Highlands on Thursday before heading to Belfast and the West Midlands on Friday.

Speaking to journalists on the flight from Belfast, Mr Sunak said he was “up for the fight”.

General Election campaign 2024
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was ‘up for the fight’ as he embarked on the last leg of his whistlestop tour of the UK (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

He said: “I love doing this. I’ve been doing it since the beginning of the year, I’ve been out and about pretty much two, three days a week since the beginning of the year and I love it.

“I love talking to people, I love having the debate, I love having the Q&A with people, answering their questions, making sure they know what I’m about and I’m really confident that over the next few weeks we’re going to have a really good conversation as a country about the future we want.”

But he acknowledged there were also “difficult days” as Prime Minister, adding he drew inspiration from Tory MP Craig Mackinlay, who returned to Parliament on Wednesday after undergoing a quadruple amputation.

His campaign stop in Belfast saw Mr Sunak visit an advanced maritime manufacturing facility in the Titanic Quarter, which led to some unfortunate comparisons being drawn with his party’s fortunes.

“Are you captaining a sinking ship going into this election?” a Belfast Live reporter asked him.

The Prime Minister replied by repeating his mantra that “our plan is working”.

But former Scottish Tory leader Baroness Ruth Davidson was not impressed, tweeting: “The deluge launch drowned out by D:Ream.

“A brewery visit with a teetotal PM, so no chance of a piss-up.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during his visit to the maritime technology centre at Artemis Technology in Belfast
Mr Sunak’s campaign stop in Belfast saw him visit an advanced maritime manufacturing facility in the Titanic Quarter (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“Now a site visit to something famous for sinking.

“Is there a double agent in CCHQ (Conservative Campaign Headquarters), and were they a headline writer in a previous life?

“Our candidates deserve better.”

The final stop on Mr Sunak’s tour was disrupted by a crowd of pro-Palestinian protesters, who took up position outside the South Staffordshire College in Cannock and delayed his entry.

On the plane, Mr Sunak would not be drawn on the contents of the Conservative manifesto, including whether or not his flagship smoking ban would be in it.

Prospects for passing the ban before the election collapsed on Friday, with the Bill not appearing in Parliament’s final “wash-up” sessions before it is prorogued and then dissolved.

The Prime Minister said he was “disappointed” that he had been unable to pass the ban that would see the smoking age increase by a year every year but remained fully committed to the policy.

He also declined to comment on whether the manifesto would include a commitment to leave the European Convention on Human Rights – seen by some as a potential stumbling block to his Rwanda policy – or whether there would be specific tax cuts.

Mr Sunak said: “I will give you exactly the same answer to any question about the manifesto and that is wait for the manifesto.”

But he repeated his line that the election presented a “clear choice” between the Conservatives and Labour, saying the latter would only raise taxes.