'Was He Just Not Bothered?': Trevor Phillips Slams Sunak Over D-Day Snub In Angry Clash With Mel Stride

Mel Stride clashed with Trevor Phillips this morning after the Sky News presenter asked whether Rishi Sunak left last week’s D-Day commemoration early because he was “just not bothered” about those who died on the beaches at Normandy.

The prime minister’s election campaign has been turned upside down by his decision to return to London rather than attend an event alongside other world leaders on Thursday afternoon.

Instead, foreign secretary David Cameron was left to represent the UK alongside US president Joe Biden, German chancellor Olaf Scholz and French president Emmanuel Macron.

Phillips told Stride the controversy “just makes the country embarrassed”.

He said: “The reason this has become such a big deal is this - the prime minister is never slow to boast about his facility with numbers.

“In the battle of Normandy, the Americans lost 29,000 soldiers, the Canadians 5,000, the French 12,000. We won’t even talk about what happened to the Germans.

“Did the prime minister not know those numbers, or did he just not care? That’s the question.”

As Stride tried to avoid the question, Phillips asked: “Was he just not bothered?”

The minister replied: “No, absolutely not. Look at Rishi Sunak’s record ...”

But Phillips interrupted: “No, look at what he did on Thursday.”

Stride hit back: “You’ve got to give me a chance to answer your question.”

But Phillips told him: “You’re not answering my question.”

The minister replied: “I haven’t had a chance to, actually. When it comes to what happened, he has made an unequivocal apology. I know he will be feeling this very deeply, and let me just talk about his record and how he stands up for this country.”

David Cameron took Sunak's place on Thursday afternoon.
David Cameron took Sunak's place on Thursday afternoon. LUDOVIC MARIN via Getty Images

Phillips then hit back: “You’ve said that twice already, and the question I’m asking you is look at that picture as 60 million Britons do, and ask yourself the question that they are asking. Did he understand the weight of this event or did he not care enough?”

Stride insisted “this man cares very deeply about our country and I know that because I know him well.”

Meanwhile, the minister also had to insist that Sunak will not resign before election day on July 4.

Phillips asked him: “Would it not be a courageous and moral act for him to announce that he knows he is leading his party to defeat, partly because of his own actions and his own shortcomings, and that he will not step aside to save seats which won’t be saved if he stays for the next four weeks?

“Is he going to lead you into this election?”

Stride replied: “Absolutely, and there should be no question of anything other than that because what matters now is there’s a clear choice for the British people.”