Man who wants teens to do national service apologises for D-Day ‘mistake’

Man who wants teens to do national service apologises for D-Day ‘mistake’
'We will always be grateful': UK's Sunak speaks at D-Day commemorations
FMM - F24 Video Clips / VideoElephant

Conservative Party leader Rishi Sunak has made many gaffes after just over two weeks of general election campaigning, but now the politician - who wants 18-year-olds to carry out national service with “the best of the best” in the armed forces if he continues as PM - has had to apologise for not doing enough to honour D-Day veterans.

Political leaders gathered in France on Thursday to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Allied operation in Normandy during the Second World War, but the UK prime minister soon faced condemnation over leaving the important event early to get back to the UK for party politics.

News site Reaction even reports such a short visit was a “compromise”, as he previously told the French he couldn’t make it all because of general election campaigning.

However, No 10 told The Times' Steven Swinford on Friday: "The PM was always scheduled to attend D-Day commemorations, including the UK National Commemoration event in Normandy, and it is incorrect to suggest otherwise."

It soon emerged that actually, he had bowed out of the D-Day commemorations early to be interviewed by ITV News - for an episode of its Tonight programme which won’t even air until next Wednesday.

In a clip shared on Thursday evening, journalist Paul Brand is seen asking Sunak if he is “willing to lie in order to stay in power”, referencing the fact that Labour has branded the Tory leader a “liar” over his repeated and contested claims that his opponents will raise taxes by £2,000 if they form the next government.

The permanent secretary of the Treasury has rubbished the analysis, and the UK Statistics Authority has criticised the use of the stat.

Sunak told Tonight: “I think it’s pretty desperate stuff, and Keir Starmer and the Labour Party are obviously very rattled.”

Except it would end up being Sunak who’s accused of being “desperate” as a result of prioritising the interview over D-Day:

In a statement posted to X on Friday morning, Sunak wrote: “The 80th anniversary of D-Day has been a profound moment to honour the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our values, our freedom and our democracy.

“This anniversary should be about those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The last thing I want is for the commemorations to be overshadowed by politics.

“I care deeply about veterans and have been honoured to represent the UK at a number of events in Portsmouth and France over the past two days and to meet those who fought so bravely.

“After the conclusion of the British event in Normandy, I returned back to the UK. On reflection, it was a mistake not to stay in France longer – and I apologise.”

Even this didn’t go down too well:


Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

How to join the indy100's free WhatsApp channel

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)