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Rishi Sunak says he has not considered resigning as PM

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Video caption, Rishi Sunak says he hasn’t considered resigning as prime minister

  • Author, Becky Morton
  • Role, Political reporter

Rishi Sunak has said he has not considered resigning as prime minister before polling day, despite facing a backlash for leaving D-Day commemorations early.

The prime minister apologised on Friday for not attending the full event to mark the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings the previous day.

The decision was criticised by opposition parties, as well as some Conservatives, with Cabinet minister Penny Mordaunt saying it was “completely wrong” and Mr Sunak had “rightly apologised”.

Mr Sunak said there was “enormous support” for Conservative policies adding: “I’m not going to stop fighting for people’s votes.”

Over the weekend, Mr Sunak kept a low profile, avoiding questions from reporters on the campaign trail.

In his first interview since Friday’s apology, during a campaign visit in Horsham, West Sussex, the PM was asked if he had considered resigning.

“No, of course not. I’m energised about the vision we’re putting forward for the country,” he said.

“This campaign is not even half way through yet. I’m finding enormous support for the policies that we’re putting on the table.”

He added: “The reality is I’m not going to stop going, I’m not going to stop fighting for people’s votes, I’m not going to stop fighting for the future of our country.”

In response Liberal Democrat local government spokeswoman Helen Morgan said: “This is rock bottom for Rishi Sunak. A Conservative leader having to rule out resigning before election day shows that the wheels have completely come off the Conservative campaign.”

Mr Sunak said he had not “meant to cause anyone any hurt or upset” by leaving the D-Day event early and had “apologised unreservedly for the mistake I made”.

He added: “I just hope people can find it in their hearts to forgive me and look at my actions that I’ve taken as prime minister, both to support our armed forces with an increase in defence spending, but also have the minister focused on veterans affairs around the cabinet table, making sure this is best country in the world to be a veteran.”

Last week Reform UK leader Nigel Farage claimed Mr Sunak had demonstrated he did not understand “our culture” by leaving the event early and was “disconnected by class [and] by privilege” from ordinary people.

Asked what he made of Mr Farage’s remarks, the PM said: “I can’t speak for him and what he meant by those comments.

“I’m not going to get involved in that because I don’t think it’s good for our politics, or indeed our country.”

Conservative minister Mel Stride said Mr Farage’s comment made him “very uncomfortable”, while Labour’s Shabana Mahmood called it a “dog whistle”.

The D-Day commemorations on Thursday included a British event at Ver sur Mer, which was attended by the prime minister and King Charles.

However, Mr Sunak left before an international commemoration on Omaha Beach attended by world leaders including US President Joe Biden, with Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron deputising for him.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer stayed at the event until the end.

Following a backlash, Mr Sunak apologised on Friday, saying that “on reflection” it was a mistake not to attend the whole event.

He added that his itinerary for D-Day had been set “weeks ago” and he had also attended other events with veterans, including in Portsmouth.

Read More: Rishi Sunak says he has not considered resigning as PM

2024-06-10 10:30:13

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