Rishi Sunak 'going to feel defensive' after D-Day backlash, says ...

12 days ago

The backlash to Rishi Sunak's decision to leave D-Day commemorations early will leave him "defensive" in the Sky News special leaders' event, Ruth Davidson has said.

Rishi Sunak - Figure 1
Photo Sky News

The prime minister apologised for skipping part of the event on Thursday for a TV interview and on Monday said he hopes people "find it in their hearts" to forgive him.

Speaking on the Electoral Dysfunction podcast with Sky News political editor Beth Rigby, the former leader of the Scottish Tories said Mr Sunak may have his guard up on Wednesday's programme.

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"Rishi Sunak's going to feel quite defensive going into this, particularly because of the D-Day fiasco," she said.

The Battle for Number 10 - a Sky News Leaders Special Event will be live on Sky News on Wednesday at 7.30pm from Grimsby - an area set to play a key role in the election.

Beth Rigby will scrutinise the leaders of the Conservative and Labour parties on their commitments to the country during 20-minute in-depth interviews.

The audience will then put their questions to Mr Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer in 25-minute slots, which Ms Davidson said the prime minister will have to navigate carefully.

"I think Rishi Sunak tonally is a bit more uncomfortable with people," she added, remembering when Mr Sunak asked a homeless person if he works in business.

Image: How Rishi Sunak tries to relate to people could be key. Pic: PA

"A big part of this is going to be able to pivot, to try and answer questions from the audience, but also try and connect with them and show some empathy and some emotional intelligence."

Rigby, meanwhile, analysed the obstacles facing Sir Keir.

"Part of the problem about being the leader of the opposition is when you are the prime minister, you get a lot of attention and can dominate the airwaves and set the agenda," she said

"When you're the leader of the opposition... you have to fight for attention."

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Part of Sir Keir's battle in this campaign is to try to "make people understand him more", she added.

"We joke about the toolmaker thing, but only 11% of the population know that his dad was a toolmaker," she said.

"What they might see is Sir Keir Starmer and think he's an aristocrat."

Email the team [email protected], post on X to @BethRigby, or send a WhatsApp voice note on 07934 200 444.

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