British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sparks outrage after early exit from D-Day memorial

LONDON – Eighty years after Sir Winston Churchill masterminded the Normandy landings, a British prime minister came under fire on Friday for leaving D-Day anniversary events early and returning to campaign for an election he might have lost.

Already troubled and unpopular, Rishi Sunak cut short his time with the players in France to return to London for a television interview.

Sunak later apologized for what he said was a “mistake”, but he was hit by criticism from his own allies and his political opponents before his decision to go home.

Sunak accused him of ‘dereliction of duty’

Sunak is fighting for his political career, with some polls showing his Conservatives trailing opposition Labor by more than 20 points ahead of the July 4 national election. If confirmed at the ballot box, this gulf of support would hand the ruling party a crushing defeat, bordering on destruction.

Sunak took the decision to call the surprise early poll himself, meaning memories of D-Day fell at the heart of the campaign.

The prime minister flew to France on Thursday morning to join King Charles III, Macron and others at a British-led memorial honoring the 60,000 or so British troops who joined thousands from Canada and the United States in the invasion that helped turn the tide. Against Nazi Germany.

But when it came time for world leaders to line up for an official photo, President Joe Biden and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, posed with Britain’s foreign secretary, David Cameron, and former prime minister David Cameron. His boss left.

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Labor leader Keir Starmer was in attendance, pictured in conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

It later emerged that Sunak gave an interview after traveling home. “The slot we were given today,” said ITV news anchor Paul Brandt. “We don’t know why.”

“On reflection, it was a mistake and I apologize,” Sunak said Friday of his decision to return home.

Sunak said his itinerary for the D-Day events was “set weeks before the general election campaign”, while his office denied he planned to avoid the memorials altogether.

“However, given the enormity of the sacrifice made, I think it’s important that we don’t politicize this,” Sunak said after initially apologizing to broadcasters on the campaign trail. Post on X. “The focus should be on the players who have given so much,” he said.

In the eyes of many others, the damage had already been done.

‘PM DITCHES D-DAY’ was splashed on its front page by the left-wing newspaper The Daily Mirror.

Starmer said Sunak “has to answer for his own actions” but “for me, I’m not going to be anywhere else.” Ed Davey, the leader of the centrist Liberal Democrats, who are hoping to win some long-held Conservative seats, said Sunak had “abandoned” those who fought in Normandy with a “total dereliction of duty”.

Nigel Farage, a populist Trump ally and leader of the Reform UK party, which wants to squeeze the Conservatives from the right, said “patriotic people who love their country” should not vote for Chung.

Criticism from some on Sunak’s own side was milder.

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His own veterans minister Johnny Mercer, a former soldier, described it as a “significant mistake”.

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