Sunak dismisses resignation rumours and says he is ‘energised’ by campaign

Sunak dismisses resignation rumours and says he is ‘energised’ by campaign

Rishi Sunak said he had “of course not” considered quitting ahead of the election amid the continued fallout over his early departure from D-Day commemorations.

The Prime Minister vowed to carry on “until the last day of this campaign” as he sought to dampen rumours that he might resign ahead of polling day on July 4.

Criticism of his early exit from the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings dogged Mr Sunak over the weekend, when he kept a low profile and avoided questions from reporters.

But during a campaign visit on Monday in Horsham, West Sussex, which has a Tory majority of 21,127, he told journalists he would not stop “fighting for the future of our country”.

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.”

On the rumours, he also told reporters on the campaign trail: “People are gonna say what they’re gonna say.”

“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.”

Mr Sunak added: “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.”

The Prime Minister also struck a renewed conciliatory tone over his D-Day departure, telling reporters he “absolutely didn’t mean to cause anyone any hurt or upset”.

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

Chris Philp, a Home Office minister and Sunak ally, earlier conceded that he was “surprised and disappointed” by the Prime Minister’s early D-Day exit.

But he said the Prime Minister will be back “bouncing around the campaign trail this week” and will be “talking to journalists whenever they want to ask him some questions”.

Mr Sunak sought to shift the focus of the campaign on Monday with a pledge to recruit 8,000 more neighbourhood police officers, paid for by hiking the cost of visas, if the Conservatives win the election.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, he said: “If you’re a criminal, the law should show you no mercy.”

Labour were quick to attack the message, referring to Mr Sunak having been fined over lockdown parties in Downing Street while he was chancellor.

“Says the man fined for breaking the law twice,” the party wrote on social media.

It comes as the Liberal Democrats launch their full election manifesto, with an offer of a £9.4 billion package for the NHS and social care in England.

Leader Sir Ed Davey told the London launch event: “The truth is unless we properly value care, unless we properly support carers, we will never be able to fix the crisis in our NHS or get our economy back on track.

“And that’s why I’m so proud the Liberal Democrats have put health and care at the heart of our campaign in this General Election, and at the heart of our manifesto too.”