Rishi Sunak confronted over quitting rumours as he breaks cowl after D-Day snub

Rishi Sunak has been confronted over whether he might quit as Prime Minister before polling day.

The Prime Minister tried to sidestep questions about his future as he finally broke cover after dodging the media for 48 hours in the wake of his disastrous D-Day snub. He was forced into a humiliating apology on Friday for his decision to skip part of the 80th anniversary commemorations in Normandy. He then went to ground, cancelling media interviews over the weekend.

Asked whether resigning had crossed his mind, Mr Sunak told broadcasters during a visit to the Dog and Bacon pub in Horsham: “No, of course not. I’m energised about the vision that we’re putting forward for the country.

“This campaign is not even halfway through yet, and I’m finding enormous amount of support for the policies that we’re putting on the table.”

Pressed on the rumours on the campaign trail in West Sussex, Mr Sunak told reporters: “People are gonna say what they’re gonna say. I am very confident in the actions that we’re putting forward for the British people.

Rishi Sunak issues another grovelling apology for skipping out of the D-Day celebrations early

Rishi Sunak issues another grovelling apology for skipping out of the D-Day celebrations early
Getty Images)

“I’m confident they will deliver a more secure future for people. There are lots of people who want to write me off, write this off, say this campaign or the election is a foregone conclusion. They’ve been saying that, by the way, ever since I’ve got this job, right? Not since this election campaign.”

Senior Conservatives were forced to quash claims over the weekend that the Prime Minister could quit before polling day amid a furious backlash from veterans, politicians and voters. In a desperate attempt to draw a line under the row, Mr Sunak said: “The reality is I’m not going to stop going, I’m not going to stop fighting for people’s votes, I’m not going to stop fighting for the future of our country.

“I believe in what we are doing deeply. I think our country is at an important moment, we’re at a crossroads, and that’s why I called this election because, having restored economic stability, this is the moment to really think about how we can deliver a more secure future for everyone.”

The PM also tried to distance himself from Nigel Farage’s dog whistle claims that that he does not understand “our culture”. The Reform UK leader was condemned for saying Mr Sunak – the first British-Asian Prime Minister – does not “care” about UK history in an attack over his decision to leave D-Day commemoration events early.

Shadow Justice Secretary Shabana Mahmood branded the comments “dog whistle” politics, while Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said they made him “very uncomfortable”.

Asked about the remarks, Mr Sunak said: “You can ask him. I can’t speak for him and what he meant by those comments. I’m not going to get involved in that because I don’t think it’s good for our politics, or indeed our country.

“And when it comes to the D-Day events, I spoke about that a lot last week. I absolutely didn’t mean to cause anyone any hurt or upset, and that’s why I apologised unreservedly for the mistake that I made.

“And I just hope people can find it in their hearts to forgive me and look at my actions that I’ve taken as Prime Minister, both to support our armed forces with an increase in defence spending, but also have the minister focused on veterans affairs around the Cabinet table, making sure this is best country in the world to be a veteran.”