Sunak ‘doesn’t understand how folk feel’ about D-Day controversy, says Farage

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage has said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak would have been forced from office over his early return from the D-Day 80th anniversary events if it was not for the General Election campaign.

Mr Farage repeated his criticism of Mr Sunak, who has apologised repeatedly for returning to the UK part-way through the ceremonies taking place in France last week, saying: “He doesn’t understand how folk in this country feel on this issue.”

Speaking on his way to a campaign event in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, he denied his comments about the Prime Minister not understanding the importance of the event had anything to do with his race.

He said: “No, of course not.

“Forty percent of those that served in both wars came from the Commonwealth.

“There are lots of families here that originated from the Commonwealth that fully understood what D-Day was about. This is about class, it’s about disconnection.”

Asked if Tuesday’s Tory manifesto launch will help Mr Sunak move on from the D-Day controversy, Mr Farage said: “Rishi Sunak will try and move on from the D-Day situation but, let me tell you, there’s an awful lot of people in this country who view that 1939-1945 period as the proudest part of their lives.”

He said: “And the fact that, at the 80th anniversary, where the last surviving remnants of the men and women who were involved in that were back in Normandy, for him to walk away, he’s not going to be easily forgiven.”

Mr Farage said: “If it wasn’t a general election, he’d be gone by now.

“His own party would have said ‘your complete lack of understanding, your disconnection with the British people’, and this is because he’s been to Winchester, he’s been to Oxford, Goldman Sachs, and he’s just not connected.

“He doesn’t understand how folk in this country feel on this issue.”

Mr Farage continued: “So he’ll survive. He’ll make it to the line on July 4. But he’s not going to survive long after that.

“And they’re (the Conservatives) on course for their worst result in the 190 years that they’ve existed.”

General Election campaign 2024
Reform UK leader Nigel Farage has a nail painted at On The Lash beauty salon, in Hoyland, Barnsley (Danny Lawson/PA)

Asked about the Tory manifesto launch, Mr Farage said: “I’m sorry to use this word – more lies, more lies.

“In 2010, 2015, 2017, 2019, they told us they would reduce immigration and they’ll be saying the same thing today.

“They’re also saying today they’re going to reduce tax.

“Well, hang on. The tax burden has now risen. It’s the highest it’s been since 1948.”

He said: “I don’t believe a single word that they say and I think, increasingly, nor does the country.”

Mr Farage was speaking ahead of walkabout in the South Yorkshire village of Hoyland, where he had a brief manicure as he chatted to staff and customers in a nail bar.

He also joked with an egg-seller on the market about his fears he may be pelted with eggs after his encounter with a milkshake last week.

The battle bus later went to Barnsley town centre, where Mr Farage’s speech from the top-deck was interrupted by demonstrators shouting “Nazi scum” at the Reform UK leader.

He was then targeted by a man throwing objects at him, which appeared to be a lump of wet cement and a cup of coffee.

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Reform UK leader Nigel Farage reacts after something is thrown towards him on the Reform UK campaign bus in Barnsley, South Yorkshire (Danny Lawson/PA)

The objects missed and Mr Farage said he had previously been warned by police not to get off the bus.

Earlier, Mr Farage was asked about the various reports of Reform UK candidates being suspended.

He said the party was looking into what had been reported.

Mr Farage said: “Our candidates are not part of the Oxbridge university political class. They often speak very bluntly.

“If I was to discover that we had candidates that really, really, really harboured deeply unpleasant views, then, of course, I wouldn’t welcome them.

“But if they’re people speaking as every day folk speak, well … let me look at them.”