UK prime minister dismisses resignation rumours

Sophie Wingate, David Lynch, Nina Lloyd and Will Durrant |

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is on the campaign trail ahead of Britain’s July 4 election.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is on the campaign trail ahead of Britain’s July 4 election.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says he has not considered quitting ahead of a general election after he was criticised for leaving D-Day commemorations early.

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

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

Campaigning in West Sussex on Monday, Sunak said that he would not stop “fighting for the future of our country”. 

Asked whether resigning had crossed his mind, Sunak it had not.

“No, of course not. I’m energised about the vision that we’re putting forward for the country,” he said.

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

On the resignation rumours, he also told reporters that “people are gonna say what they’re gonna say”. 

“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,” he said. 

The Conservative leader 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 said.

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

But he said Sunak will be back “bouncing around the campaign trail this week”.

The UK’s Liberal Democrats are launching their full election manifesto with an offer of an STG9.4 billion ($A18.1 billion) package for the National Health Service and social care in England. 

Labour, led by Keir Starmer, is the frontrunner ahead of the election and has maintained a strong lead over the Conservatives in opinion polls.

PA