Fury as Tories criticise Labour candidate for collaborating in D-Day occasion

A Tory councillor is facing a backlash after he appeared to criticise a Labour candidate for taking part in D-Day commemorations.

Daniel Nelson appeared to question Bayo Alaba’s participation in an event to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Mr Alaba, who served in the Parachute Regiment Reserves, was taking part in a parachute jump to remember Normandy airborne operations.

Mr Nelson, who is a councillor in Southend, boasted on X/Twitter about talking to residents during “fantastic door knocking sessions”. Hitting out at the Mr Alaba, who is standing for Labour in the area, he added: “Is the Labour candidate still in France?”

Angela Rayner hit out furiously online as she defended Labour candidate Bayo Alaba

Angela Rayner hit out furiously at the apparent Tory attack as she defended Labour candidate Bayo Alaba

Labour’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner posted on X: “Tories smearing Bayo Alaba, Labour’s candidate for Southend, for visiting France? We see you. He was parachuting into Normandy as part of the 80th anniversary of D-Day, to raise money for the Royal British Legion and Trust Links charities. We’re proud of him. Shame on you.”

Mr Alaba, who is standing for Labour in Southend East and Rochford, had written online ahead of the commemorations: “Next month I’ll be parachuting into Normandy as part of the 80th anniversary of D-Day, to raise money for the Royal British Legion & Trust Links (mental health) charities.”

Rishi Sunak is under fire for leaving D-Day commemorations early to take part in an ITV election interview on Thursday. He was forced to apologise after critics hit out at a “dereliction of duty” from the Prime Minister. He has since been accused of dodging scrutiny after choosing to go campaigning in Yorkshire without media on Sunday, after refusing to speak to any journalists on Saturday following his D-Day snub.

Tory ministers on Sunday morning were forced to hose down suggestions that Mr Sunak might quit before election day. In a sign of how bad things are going, there have been whispers that the PM could throw in the towel. Asked if Mr Sunak is going to lead the party into the election, Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride told Sky News: “Absolutely. And there’s been no question of anything other than that.” The Tory Cabinet minister insisted Mr Sunak is patriotic following his D-Day gaffe.

As he appeared on Sky News, Mr Stride said: “I know Rishi pretty well. In fact, I consider him something of a friend. I know that he’s a deeply patriotic person. He cares greatly about this country.” The minister added: “I know he will be feeling this very deeply… Of course he understood the weight of this event.”

Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth hit out at Mr Sunak dodging media scrutiny over the weekend. He said: “If Rishi Sunak is going to come out with yet another desperate wishlist of manifesto proposals this weekend, the least he can do is face up to proper public scrutiny over how he plans to pay for them, what the impact on people’s finances will be, and when he intends to deliver on the first set of pledges he made to the British people eighteen months ago.

“But instead, he has [been] ducking the cameras and dodging all those legitimate questions; just another farcical episode in this calamitous Conservative campaign.”