Tuesday, June 25, 2024
HomeNews'You Didn't Care:' Rishi Sunak Grilled Over Decision To Leave D-Day Ceremony...

‘You Didn’t Care:’ Rishi Sunak Grilled Over Decision To Leave D-Day Ceremony Early

Rishi Sunak has denied he considered skipping the D-Day commemorations entirely as he struggled during a TV interview to defend leaving Normandy early.

The prime minister apologised on Friday morning for flying back to the UK from France in order to record an election interview with ITV on Thursday.

Sunak’s decision triggered a fierce backlash, with Tory veterans minister Johnny Mercer branding it a “significant mistake”.

Speaking to broadcasters on Friday afternoon, the prime minister admitted that “on reflection” it was a “mistake” to ditch the ceremony attended by other world leaders.

And he denied reports he had even thought about not going to the event at all. “That’s simply not right,” he said.

“Having participated in all the British events with British veterans I returned home before the international leaders event later in the day. On reflection that was a mistake and I apologise.”

But Sunak also suggested those who criticised him were trying to “politicise” D-Day.

Sky News’ Sam Coates, who was conducting the interview, told the prime minister he sounded “more exasperated than apologetic”.

“These men made the ultimate sacrifice and you couldn’t even sacrifice an afternoon?” he said. “Prime minister, you didn’t care did you?”

Coates added: “Keir Starmer managed to stay for the whole event. You didn’t. What does that say about your judgment, your priorities and your character?.”

Sunak claimed the “itinerary” of the event had been set “weeks ago” before he called the election.

His absence meant David Cameron, the foreign secretary, was left to stand in for him at a high profile event with Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz.

Starmer – who stayed in Normandy for the entire ceremony – said earlier Sunak would have to “answer’ for his decision. “For me, there was nowhere else I was going to be,” he said.

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