Rishi Sunak surprised commuters during the morning rush hour by selling poppies at Westminster Tube station in central London.
The prime minister was seen holding a tray full of poppies and talking to members of the public, some who asked for selfies, during a brief appearance to which no media were invited.
The Royal British Legion said they were “grateful to the PM for generously giving up his time to collect with us”.
Others were also quick to share their surprise on spotting Mr Sunak.
Lewis, an operations and data analyst who did not want to give his last name, said he bought a poppy from Mr Sunak for £5.
“I didn’t expect to meet the chap,” he said. “I went to buy my ticket at Westminster Station and he was there selling poppies with the military men and women.”
He said that having been critical of Mr Sunak’s role in Boris Johnson‘s departure as prime minister earlier in the year, he “turns out to be okay”, adding that he is “down to earth” and “approachable”.
“I was surprised he was there,” he said.
Mr Sunak joined several army personnel and civil servant Stephen le Roux.
Some were critical of his appearance, with one commuter tweeting: “Funny how Sunak has time to ‘sell’ a few poppies but not so much for major international conferences.”
It appeared to be a reference to the prime minister’s U-turn on his decision to skip the COP27 climate summit in Egypt.
Mr Sunak initially said he was not going, but later said he would attend the event in Sharm el Sheikh after facing a raft of criticism from environmental campaigners and MPs.
It was announced the morning after former Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Sky News he would be attending.
Another social media user wrote on Twitter: “Good to see the prime minister helping sell poppies at Westminster tube this morning. We need more of this and less celebrity chasing nonsense from likes [of] Boris Johnson & Matt Hancock.”
Earlier this week it was announced former health secretary Matt Hancock will be jetting off to the jungle in Australia to go on the reality TV show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!.
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