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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak apologizes for leaving the D-Day anniversary event early for a TV interview

2024.07.08 01:28:10 Hanah Park

[A view of London. Photo Credit to Pexels]

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is running for reelection this coming July, apologized for leaving the D-Day commemoration event early after public backlash.


On June 6, Sunak joined World War II veterans and 25 heads of state, including French President Emmanual Macron, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, British King Charles, and American President Joe Biden, at an international event in honor of the 80th anniversary of D-Day.


However, Sunak left the ceremony early for an interview with ITV, a British public broadcasting network, and was not present for the commemoration on Omaha Beach.


The Prime Minister’s early departure resulted in a storm of public backlash, causing him to apologize for his actions.


Sunak explained that his itinerary was set before his campaign began and pointed out that he had attended all the British events with British veterans as well as memorial celebrations in Portsmouth and France.


He referenced his support and personal connection to veteran care but admitted that leaving the D-Day celebrations early was a “mistake.”


This controversy is a major setback to Sunak’s campaign, which is organizing for the general election on July 4 against opposition Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer.


This election is especially important to maintain the Conservative party’s power and influence in British politics as the party’s level of support has sunk to the lowest it has been in the past 46 years at 20% favorability.


In contrast, the Labor party maintains a strong 42% favorability rate.


Despite a rise in his popularity over the past year, Sunak’s narrow lead over Starmer, 51% to 49%, is now at risk.


Many predict that the controversy will have an adverse effect on Sunak’s popularity and will impact the results of the general election less than a month away.


Starmer, who was also present at the D-Day ceremonies, remarked that the Prime Minister would “have to answer for his own actions.”


Many politicians and the general public echoed Starmer’s sentiment.


British Parliament and Labour Party member Jonathan Ashworth commented, “In choosing to prioritize his vanity TV appearances over our veterans, Rishi Sunak has shown what is most important to him."


The Labour Party accused Sunak of “dereliction of duty.”


A member of Sunak’s own party, Conservative politician Penny Mourdant, remarked, “What happened was completely wrong."

A daughter of a WWII and D-Day veteran told BBC that she was “absolutely disgusted” with Sunak’s actions and that “he can forget” getting her vote.

In contrast, others have chosen to support Sunak.


Foreign Secretary David Cameron, who took Sunak’s place for the rest of the D-Day ceremony, defended his actions by pointing out that his plans had been made months before the event.


Cameron added, "But then, on reflection, he said he wished he had stayed for the later event and I think that's a credit to him, that he has been so frank about it."


Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer acknowledged the veterans' hurt due to Sunak’s actions but emphasized that Sunak understood his mistake and apologized.


Mercer noted, "I think people do make mistakes, this was a mistake. He’s accepted that and he’s apologized and I will continue to fight for him.”

Hanah Park / Grade 11 Session 4
Imagine International Academy of North Texas