新加坡六合彩

Election campaign day 17: Rishi Sunak ducks media as D-Day row rumbles on

The Prime Minister avoided media questions amid continuing criticism over his early return from D-Day commemorations as the third weekend of campaigning got under way.

鈥 Putting up walls

Mr Sunak visited a walled garden as an opportunity for reporters to quiz him did not take place, with the Tories citing time constraints on his tour of County Durham and North Yorkshire on Saturday.

The planned 鈥渉uddle鈥 with journalists was called off as the D-Day row continued, and after his awkward exchange with broadcasters a day earlier.

Rishi Sunak during a visit to a Big Help Out project in a walled garden in Bishop Auckland
Rishi Sunak visited a Big Help Out project in a walled garden in Bishop Auckland (Phil Nobel/PA)

The Transport Secretary did not go as far as fellow senior Conservative Penny Mordaunt, who branded the decision 鈥渃ompletely wrong鈥 during Friday鈥檚 BBC election debate.

Mr Harper repeated Mr Sunak鈥檚 suggestion it had always been his intention to leave before the event on Omaha Beach, even before he called the election.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said it was 鈥渟uch a letdown for our whole country鈥 while Labour鈥檚 Sir Keir Starmer stressed he felt it was his 鈥渄uty鈥 to thank veterans at the event Mr Sunak missed.

General Election campaign 2024
Rishi Sunak has been criticised for leaving Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron to pose with the leaders of France, Germany and the US at the D-Day international ceremony (Abaca Press/Alamy/PA)

Sir Keir was banging the drum for small firms on a campaign visit to a canal-side Camden brewery alongside Dragons鈥 Den star Deborah Meaden.

He promised an overhaul of the business rates system because 鈥渢here鈥檚 not a level playing field between businesses that are online and those that are sort of bricks and mortar鈥.

Meaden praised Labour鈥檚 plan to set up Great British Energy, a publicly owned sustainable power company, as 鈥渁bsolutely brilliant鈥.

鈥淏usinesses don鈥檛 like being out of control of costs, and energy is one of those costs that simply fluctuates beyond your control,鈥 the celebrity investor told the PA news agency.

Sir Keir Starmer helps to serve drinks during a visit to 3 Lock鈥檚 Brewery
Sir Keir Starmer helps to serve drinks during a visit to 3 Lock鈥檚 Brewery in Camden alongside TV star Deborah Meaden (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

After pulling the first pint of the day at 10.55am, the Labour leader joked that 鈥渋f all else fails鈥 he would be back at the north London brewery on July 5.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves was also touting Labour鈥檚 offer for growing businesses on the Farnborough high street with retail guru Mary Portas.

Meanwhile, Labour鈥檚 pledge to introduce an age cap of 80 on peers and axe new hereditary roles, as reported in The Times, got some flak after Sir Keir previously vowed to abolish the House of Lords.

鈥 Picture of the day

 Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer holds a child
A child gets handsy with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer during his visit to Harlesden Town Garden in London (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Staying true to his penchant for attention-grabbing photo ops, Sir Ed tried his hand at tennis in Newbury and played adventure golf in Wokingham.

He visited the two Tory-held seats to promote the Lib Dems鈥 proposal to plough 拢50 million a year into creating three new national parks.

He batted away accusations the Lib Dems are 鈥渘imbys鈥 for focusing on parks amid a housing crisis and low economic growth.

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey was flanked by a Tyrannosaurus rex while playing a round at Wokingham Family Golf (Will Durrant/PA)

More lifelong Conservatives are going yellow, he said, noting that Mr Sunak鈥檚 D-Day snub 鈥渞eally cut through鈥.

鈥淭he veterans and their families are very upset and I think people who traditionally have thought the Conservatives are the party of patriotism no longer think that.鈥

鈥 Salt from Swinney

Mr Sunak was also getting blasted north of the border, where Scotland鈥檚 First Minister John Swinney said his D-Day blunder 鈥渃ompletely destroyed鈥 his credibility.

She has kept a relatively low profile amid a police probe into the spending of 拢600,000 of SNP funds.

Mr Swinney would not be drawn on why his former boss had not been seen alongside him on the campaign trail so far, but told PA in Livingston: 鈥淚 welcome very much Nicola鈥檚 contribution鈥.

鈥 Quote of the day

Poking fun at Sir Keir鈥檚 supposed flip-flopping on policy, the Tories鈥 TikTok account presented three versions of Barbie-like dolls dubbed 鈥淩emain Keir鈥, 鈥淓co Keir鈥 and 鈥淐orbyn Keir鈥.

Remain Keir comes with the captions 鈥渨e want to campaign for Remain鈥 and 鈥渨e don鈥檛 want to diverge [from the EU]鈥, while Eco Keir costs 鈥渙nly 拢38.5 billion鈥, and Corbyn Keir 鈥渃osts more鈥.

鈥 What鈥檚 happening tomorrow

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride, Reform UK leader Nigel Farage and SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn are on the Sunday morning broadcast round.

Sir Keir and Mr Swinney are expected to hit the campaign trail while Scottish Tory deputy leader Meghan Gallacher is out and about in Perthshire.

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