Sunak Allies Dismiss Talk of New Tory Leader Before Elections

(Bloomberg) -- Allies of Rishi Sunak say the prime minister will definitely lead the Conservatives into the UK election, after a week that saw him lambasted from all sides for skipping an event to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Most Read from Bloomberg

Speaking to Sky News, Work and Pensions Minister Mel Stride said “there should be no question” that the party will not change its leader, less than a month out from polling day.

“The prime minister has accepted that he made a mistake, he has apologized unequivocally for that, and I think he will be feeling this very deeply, because he is a deeply patriotic person,” Stride said Sunday.

In the biggest gaffe of the campaign so far, Sunak skipped a gathering at Omaha beach on Thursday afternoon that was attended by US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The prime minister, who attended earlier commemorative events, apologized for his absence on Friday in an X post, saying it was a “mistake.”

Still, other Tory members have privately and publicly criticized their leader. Cabinet minister Penny Mordaunt said during a televised debate Friday it was “very wrong” of the premier to to leave the commemorations early.

Sunak is facing discontent from party members as polls predict the Tories will see their biggest defeat in living memory. Labour leads the Tories by more than 20 points, according to Bloomberg’s composite poll, a rolling 14-day average using data from 11 polling companies, and two large-scale seat-by-seat analyses this week put them on course for a historic majority next month.

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.