Rishi Sunak says he had to 'go without' Sky TV as a child so his parents could send him to boarding school

12 June 2024, 05:27 | Updated: 12 June 2024, 09:26

Rishi Sunak said D-Day commemorations 'ran over'
Rishi Sunak said D-Day commemorations 'ran over'. Picture: ITV/Alamy

By Kit Heren

Rishi Sunak has said that he went without ‘lots of things’ as a child growing up in the UK - including Sky TV.

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In the interview with Paul Brand that sparked a storm for the PM after he left D-Day commemorations early, Mr Sunak cited Sky TV as an example of things he went without during his childhood.

At the start of the interview, Mr Sunak apologised for being late, saying that the D-Day events "ran over".

Mr Sunak caused a political storm last week by not attending an international ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings, returning to the UK to record the interview instead.

He went on to face a series of questions about how in touch he is with ordinary voters.

He was asked about how he is able to stay in touch with ordinary people when he is 'wealthier than the king'.

Asked about whether he had to 'go without something' when he was a child, Mr Sunak replies: "I went without lots of things because my parents wanted to put everything into our education and that was a priority."

Pressed to give a specific example, Mr Sunak said: “There’ll be all sorts of things that I would’ve wanted as a kid that I couldn’t have. Famously, Sky TV, so that was something that we never had growing up actually.”

Mr Sunak, who was educated at the now £52,000 private boarding school Winchester College in Hampshire, said: “What is more important is my values and how I was raised.

"And I was raised in a household where hard work was really important … service to your community was important. And my parents worked very hard for what they had and they wanted their kids to have a better life.”

Mr Sunak said his GP father and pharmacist mother wanted to 'put everything' into their children's education and Sky TV was one of the sacrifices they made.

Read more: Tax cuts, stamp duty slashed and halving migration: Sunak rolls the dice at Tory manifesto launch

Read more: Carry on campaigning: Rishi Sunak vows to 'fight on' and says he won't quit despite polling - and D-Day fiasco

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak. Picture: Alamy

The PM said his parents made lifestyle sacrifices for him and his education.

Tory peer on what Sunak 'did well' with manifesto launch

Mr Sunak was criticised by politicians across the political spectrum for his decision to leave D-Day early, including by his own Cabinet minister Penny Mordaunt.

During the interview, the Conservative leader apologised for his lateness and told him the “incredible” commemorations in Normandy “all just ran over”.

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage claimed that Mr Sunak did not care about British history.

Asked what he thought of the Reform UK leader, who are challenging the Conservatives for right-wing voters, Mr Sunak said: "I really don’t know him. I think I’ve met him maybe once in my life.

"At the end of the day, as I said, one of two people is going to be prime minister on 5 July. It’s either Keir Starmer or me."

It comes after Mr Sunak announced a flurry of policies designed to woo voters, pledging to cut another 2p off national insurance, effectively abolish stamp duty for first-time buyers on homes under £425,000, and introduce an annual migration cap.

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