UK PM Rishi Sunak faces backlash over leaving D-Day event early, apologises

Around 25 world leaders took part in the D-Day event on Thursday

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announcing general elections on July 4 outside 10 Downing Street, London | AP Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announcing general elections on July 4 outside 10 Downing Street, London | AP

United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Friday apologised for skipping the D-Day event in France, Normandy. Ahead of the elections, Sunak had left the event early for an election campaign television interview. 

Sunak apologised for flying back early after it raised many eyebrows among the global leaders. He was criticised and judged by some leaders for not supporting the Armed Forces and veterans. 

Scottish First Minister John Swinney while speaking to the reporters in Glasgow said that Sunak's decision to leave early during the D-Day commemorations was "a truly, breathtaking terrible decision."

It was "disrespectful" to veterans. Sunak "should have been there to represent the international interests of the United Kingdom,” Swinney added.

Sunak said that he had attended various D-Day events, both in Portsmouth and France and he "deeply care for the war veterans". 

Around 25 world leaders attended the D-Day event hosted in France on Thursday. US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, King Charles III and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy were among the leaders present for the event at Omaha Beach in Normandy. 

Sunak had attended a ceremony at the British memorial in Normandy alongside King Charles III earlier in the day of the event. 

"The 80th anniversary of D-Day has been a profound moment to honour the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our values, our freedom and our democracy...This anniversary should be about those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The last thing I want is for the commemorations to be overshadowed by politics," Sunak wrote on X. 

He further said that he deeply cares about veterans and has been honoured to represent the UK at a number of events in Portsmouth and France over the past two days. 

"After the conclusion of the British event in Normandy, I returned back to the UK. On reflection, it was a mistake not to stay in France longer – and I apologise," said Sunak. 

The UK elections are slated to be held on July 4. 

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