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Penny Mordaunt Attacked From All Sides After PM’s D-Day Blunder

2 min read

Penny Mordaunt was attacked from all major parties at the TV debate on Friday evening, after she said the Prime Minister was “completely wrong” to return early from D-Day commemorations on Omaha beach.

The Tory cabinet minister represented the Conservatives at the BBC debate with six representatives from other parties. They included Reform UK leader Nigel Farage, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner, the SNP’s Stephen Flynn, Liberal Democrats' Daisy Cooper, the Greens' Carla Deyner and Plaid Cymru’s Rhun ap Iorwerth.

Mordaunt came under significant pressure from Rayner and Farage. The Reform UK leader had previously called the Prime Minister “unpatriotic” for curtailing his visit to Normandy.

Mordaunt said Sunak “rightly apologised” and said she was hoping to reassure veterans the Government would continue to support them. 

“What happened was completely wrong and the Prime Minister has rightly apologised for that, apologised to veterans but also to all of us, because he was representing all of us,” she said.

“I’m from Portsmouth, I’ve also been defence secretary and my wish at the end of this week is that all of our veterans feel completely treasured. And I’m hoping tonight to convince you of some of the things that are important to them.”

“I didn’t go to D-Day. I think what happened was very wrong, I think the prime minister has apologised for that.”

The Leader of the House said it was “important” to honour the legacy of veterans and those who “fought for our freedom”.

Cooper, the Liberal Democrats' deputy leader, said if she had been there on Thursday she would have found it “completely unforgivable”. The early stages of the debate centred around defence spending, the cost of living, and how migration impacted Britain’s public services.

Earlier on Friday the Prime Minister apologised on social media and said it was a mistake not to stay in France for longer.

He was replaced by David Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, to represent the United Kingdom at the commemorations in Normandy. The event was also attended by King Charles and Queen Camilla, Labour leader Keir Starmer, and world leaders including US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The event is likely to be the final one in which veterans with living memory of Operation Overlord, the amphibious invasion into northern France, will be alive to take part in the commemorations.

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