Mayor of London Boris Johnson has declared the Eastleigh by-election a “two horse race”.

The Tory heavyweight was in the constituency this afternoon canvassing votes alongside the party's candidate, Maria Hutchings.

The popular politician posed for pictures with surprised residents as he knocked on doors in Stamford Way, Fair Oak.

His visit was briefly interrupted by a UKIP van, after a campaigner drove the vehicle down neighbouring Dean Road and began sounding the horn.

But Mr Johnson remained in positive spirits, even after talking to one man who told the Conservative duo he would not be voting next week because: “I hate all politicians”.

Mr Johnson played down accusations that he was visiting the town because his party had got “the jitters”, having seen the amount of resources the Liberal Democrats had pumped into the campaign.

He said: “I'm here because it's very important to support our party at a time when I think it's amazing how close and how hard fought this election is.

“It's a two horse race between Maria and the Liberal Democrats and it's perfectly obvious to me that we've got a very, very strong, sparky, original, forthright, local candidate campaigning on local issues who I think has a very, very good chance next Thursday.

“It would be stupendous if we do win. It would be an absolutely wonderful thing because it would be the first time in 31 years that a governing party would have won a by-election in these circumstances.

“Clearly it's going to be very tough and tight and there's plenty of evidence of that from the conversations we've been having.

“But I can tell you there's a lot of support here.”