Rishi’s Retreat from Normandy Shames the Conservatives, writes the Lib Dem Defence Spokesperson

7 June 2024, 15:07 | Updated: 7 June 2024, 15:10

Rishi’s Retreat from Normandy Shames the Conservatives, writes the Lib Dem Defence Spokesperson
Rishi’s Retreat from Normandy Shames the Conservatives, writes the Lib Dem Defence Spokesperson. Picture: Alamy/LBC
  • Richard Foord is the Liberal Democrat Defence Spokesperson. Richard served in the army for a decade, reaching the rank of Major. He received three campaign medals for service in Iraq and the Balkans.
Richard Foord

By Richard Foord

This week Rishi Sunak had a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pay his respects to our D-Day heroes, British veterans and our allies from the Commonwealth and the rest of the world.

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For reasons only he can explain, rather than clear his diary to stand shoulder to shoulder with other world leaders for this momentous occasion, Sunak sloped off early.

Sunak’s abrupt farwell from the event sent a clear message to our military veterans: ‘I’ve got more important things to be getting on with.’ His decision to walk away from this historic event shames the office of Prime Minister and the Conservative party.

This was a dereliction of duty of the highest order.

In the context of the Conservative Government’s treatment of the Armed Forces, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by the Prime Minister’s casual disregard for our D-Day heroes.

After all, let’s not forget that the Conservative Government has prioritised soundbites and flash announcements over keeping our country safe. The result is an Army which is being cut by almost 10,000. Our Army is now smaller than it’s been for 200 years.

On top of that, the Tories have been negligent in their support for military personnel. The families of service personnel are too frequently an afterthought, for example, spouses receive important information about their lives - where they are moving to for example - secondhand, through their serving partner.

And we will all be familiar with how some veterans have fallen through gaps in support and found it impossible to get the support they need - especially for those who suffer from mental ill health.

Our Armed Forces personnel, veterans, and their families deserve better. They deserve a fair deal, and the Liberal Democrats will bring that fair deal for our military service personnel.

We will reverse the cuts to our Armed Forces, recruiting an extra 10,000 soldiers to the Army. We will strengthen the Armed Forces Covenant, imposing a duty to ensure that ministers take it into account when they make decisions.

And we will improve the standard of Ministry of Defence housing - starting with reviewing the maintenance contracts which are worth huge sums of money. It is appalling that so many serving personnel and their families live in disgraceful conditions.

These people put their lives on the line for our country - they should be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

From Boris Johnson’s Partygate to the destructive budget of Liz Truss, to Rishi Sunak’s decision to retreat from his duty as PM yesterday, the Tories have proven time and again that they are not fit for office.

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