Public say Sunak’s decision to leave D-Day events early was ‘disgusting’

Public say Sunak’s decision to leave D-Day events early was ‘disgusting’

Members of the public have said the Prime Minister had his “priorities wrong” by making the “disgusting” decision to leave the D-Day commemorations in France early.

Rishi Sunak has apologised and said that “on reflection” he should have stayed in Normandy for a major international ceremony attended by world leaders.

Instead, Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron represented the UK Government, while Mr Sunak’s rival for the keys to No 10, Sir Keir Starmer, was also there rubbing shoulders with world leaders.

Speaking outside The D-Day Story museum next to Southsea Common, Portsmouth, Hampshire, where the national commemorations for the D-Day 80th anniversary were held on Wednesday, Richard Cleverly, 73, said he believed that the Prime Minister’s actions were “disgusting”.

RIchard Cleverly
Retired mechanical engineer Richard Cleverly, 73, from Ascot, Berkshire (Ben Mitchell/PA)

The retired mechanical engineer, from Ascot, Berkshire, who used to work on Royal Navy warships including the Type 45 destroyers, said: “I thought it was quite disgusting really when everybody else was represented and we had to suffer with David Cameron who is not an elected MP. He shouldn’t, as far as I am concerned, be anywhere near the Government after his actions with the Brexit and referendum and what went on previously.

“I am not a Tory fan, I will admit to that, and I certainly shan’t be voting for them and what happened yesterday re-enhanced my opinion that their time is up, they have made enough mess of the country over the last number of years and looking forward to a better future maybe.”

On how the international community would view Mr Sunak’s actions, he added: “I think they would be frowned upon. We are coming out of Brexit and they are talking about coming out of the Court of Human Rights so we seem to be alienating ourselves from our friends.

“I thought the French president yesterday was fantastic with his speeches, Sunak’s speech was OK but leaving the ceremony was out of order and I didn’t agree with it.”

His wife, Angie, 68, who worked for an IT company before she retired, said: “I was thoroughly disgusted and I thought it was a very poor show when we had so many loyal countries here from that day and he did that, it just made me realise he is not fit now to rule the country.

Angie Cleverly
Angie Cleverly, 68, from Ascot, said Mr Sunak’s actions were ‘a poor show’ (Ben Mitchell/PA)

“He shouldn’t be doing what he is doing and I do hope he gets his comeuppance in the election and doesn’t get elected because I think all those veterans that made it, the ages they were and how hard that must have been for them and he just leaves, it was beyond belief really.”

David Rolfe, 59, a people development manager from Tadley, Hampshire, said: “I feel it was a bit inappropriate. Feelings were quite high for the country and the day and I know there is a General Election going on but one day commemorating the 80th anniversary, so I feel he has made a mistake and I think he recognises that.

David Rolfe
David Rolfe, 59, from Tadley, Berkshire (Ben Mitchell/PA)

“David Cameron, prominent as he is, he (Mr Sunak) is the Prime Minister so I think it was the wrong decision, personally.”

George Lock, a 29-year-old teacher from Southsea, Hampshire, said: “It’s a busy period of time with the General Election coming up but I don’t know, I think his public image is pretty soured as it is so it would have been nice for him to take that time out and show the respect it probably deserves.”

George Lock
Teacher George Lock, from Southsea, Hampshire (Ben Mitchell/PA)

Joe Hough, 63, a truck driver from Northampton, said: “I have just seen it on my phone five minutes ago and a bit disappointed, I would say.

“He’s meant to be our leader, currently, I’m not sure now how much longer.”

Joe Hough
Joe Hough, 63, from Northampton, said veterans would feel ‘offended’ (Ben Mitchell/PA)

He said it would not look “very good” on the international stage and added that the veterans would feel “offended” by Mr Sunak’s actions.

Gordon Hair, a 53-year-old car body repairman from Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, said: “It demonstrates that his priorities are a little wayward and he needs to reassess his priorities a little better.

Gordon Hair
Gordon Hair, 53, from Uttoxeter, Staffordshire (Ben Mitchell/PA)

“His priorities are all wrong.”

Graham Murfet, 77, a retired trade union official from Northfleet, Kent, said: “My opinion of Rishi Sunak leaving the proceedings early is disgraceful.

Graham Murfet
Graham Murfet, from Northfleet, Kent, called Mr Sunak’s early departure ‘disgraceful’ (Ben Mitchell/PA)

“He is the Prime Minister of Great Britain, those people fought on behalf of Great Britain, they defended Great Britain and he could not have the courtesy of seeing the whole thing through as our main political representative – disgraceful.”