June 15, 2024

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Mordaunt says Sunak’s decision to leave D-Day event was ‘wrong’

Mordaunt says Sunak’s decision to leave D-Day event was ‘wrong’
Video explanation, D-Day, taxes and the NHS: moments from the BBC debate

  • author, Lucy Clark Billings
  • Role, BBC News

Conservative Minister Penny Mordaunt said the Prime Minister’s decision to leave D-Day celebrations early was “completely wrong”.

Mr Sunak faced heavy criticism because he left the 80th anniversary event of the Normandy landings in France on Thursday to return to the UK – where he asked Foreign Secretary David Cameron to stand in for him at the event.

Mordaunt, a Marine reservist, did not praise Sunak’s record on veterans and defence, unlike many of her colleagues.

Speaking on Saturday, Transport Secretary Mark Harper told BBC Breakfast he distanced himself from Mordaunt’s comments.

Asked whether he agreed with Mordaunt that Sunak’s decision was “completely wrong”, Harper replied: “I don’t know what the details of putting the Prime Minister’s agenda together are.

He added: “The Prime Minister made a mistake. He has apologized for it, and he has apologized to those who would have been particularly affected by it.”

“I would say that given his record since he became prime minister, he actually cares about veterans tremendously.”

Video explanation, Mordaunt says Sunak leaving D-Day event was ‘a mistake’

Friday night’s BBC debate began with a question about defence.

Opposition parties took the opportunity to attack Sunak over his early departure from the D-Day commemorations.

Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, Daisy Cooper, said Sunak’s decision was “politically disgraceful,” referring to her grandfather who was on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.

UK Reform Party leader Nigel Farage said Sunak’s “appalling” decision to leave early showed that “we actually have a very unpatriotic prime minister.”

In the wake of what is widely seen as the biggest blunder of the general election campaign to date is Mr Sunak I apologized for XHe expressed his hope that politics would not overshadow the “ultimate sacrifice” made by those who put their lives on the line.

He admitted that “on reflection” he should have stayed for the event in which world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, celebrated the sacrifices made by troops in 1944.

“What happened was completely wrong, and the prime minister apologized for that, and he apologized to the veterans and to all of us, because he represented all of us,” Mordaunt said.

The Commons leader added that the issue should not become a “political football”, but Farage, who went to Normandy himself, said it had already become one.

Asked during the debate whether she would leave Normandy early, Mordaunt said: “I did not go to D-Day. I think what happened was very wrong, and I think the Prime Minister apologized for that.”

“But what I think is also important is that we respect their legacy. They fought for our freedom, and unless we spend the right amount on defense, we won’t be able to honor that legacy.”

Scottish National Party leader Stephen Flynn said: “A Prime Minister who puts his political career before public service is no Prime Minister at all.”

“A Prime Minister who puts his political career ahead of veterans of the Normandy War is no Prime Minister at all.

“So we must all do our national service and vote the Conservatives out of office.”

Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth said it was “certainly not a day for the Prime Minister to decide…that his priority should be to fight for his political future”.

“It’s a tragedy that so many veterans struggle in life” after leaving the military, said Carla Diener, co-leader of the Green Party.

D-Day celebrations included a British event in Ver-sur-Mer, attended by the Prime Minister and King Charles, but Sunak left before the international celebration on Omaha Beach. I finish.

After the event, Labor shadow minister Jonathan Ashworth said: “For the Prime Minister to skip early D-Day celebrations to record a TV interview in which he once again lied through his teeth is an embarrassment and a complete dereliction of duty.”

The party confirmed that Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer remained at the event until the end.

Sir Keir said he was “amazed” by how difficult it was for veterans to get there, but how many people made the effort to stand up from their wheelchairs to greet the King.

“I thought it was really important for me to be there to pay my respects to them and to those who didn’t come back, and actually to say thank you,” he said.

“Rishi Sunak will have to take responsibility for his actions. For me, there was nowhere else I would have been.”

Jack Hemmings, 102, a World War Two pilot who traveled to Normandy for the celebrations, told the BBC that Sunak’s early departure was the “wrong decision”.

“He chose to put the election before the thousands who were killed.”

Mr Hemmings served with 353 Squadron and flew a Lockheed Hudson aircraft in the maritime patrol role protecting the Bay of Bengal from Japanese invasion.

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