Penny Mordaunt says what Sunak did, in leaving D-day events early, was ‘very wrong’

Q: As we celebrated D-day, and remember those like my father, how will the parties ensure our armies are ready and our country safe?

Angela Rayner starts by thanking people who serve. Labour is committed to the triple lock on the nuclear deterrent: keeping the submarines, making sure new ones are built in Barrow, and doing upgrades.

And Labour will improve accommodation for servicemen and women, she says.

Daisy Cooper says the Lib Dems are the party of Paddy Ashdown, so they take defence very seriously. They would increase defence spending year by year, aiming for 2.5% of GDP by the end of the next parliament.

Nigel Farage says the army has shrunk. He says they need 30,000 more soldiers, not volunteers. And he says we should support veterans. What happened yesterday was a disgrace, he says.

Penny Mordaunt said what the PM did was “very wrong”.

The prime minister has rightly apologised for that, apologised to veterans, but also to all of us because he was representing all of us.

I’m from Portsmouth. I’ve also been defence secretary and my wish at the end of this week is that all of our veterans feel completely treasured … What happened was very wrong.

Rishi Sunak leaving D-day early was ‘very wrong’ says Penny Mordaunt during TV debate – video

UPDATE: Asked if she would have left D-Day commemorations early, Mordaunt said:

I didn’t go to D-day. I think what happened was very wrong, I think the prime minister has apologised for that.

But what I also think is important is we honour their legacy, they fought for our freedom, and unless we are spending the right amount on defence we can’t honour that legacy.


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Key events

Denyer says, with the main parties getting more similar, the argument for more diversity in the Commons is getting stronger.

The Green party is coming of ages, he says.

Flynn says he can cite examples of the SNP delivering. He says 100,000 young people have been taken out of poverty. Students don’t pay tuition fees. Scotland has a nationalised water company.

Under the Tories or Labour, the UK faces £18bn worth of cuts, he says.

Ap Iorwerth says he has been around politics for 30 years, for 20 years as a journalist. People are cynical, because of things like Partygate, or Vaughan Gething taking a £200,000 donation from a convicted polluter.

Cooper says this parliament has been characterised by law-breaking, lying and the economic illiteracy of the mini-budget.

Husain asks if she remembers the Lib Dems breaking their promise on tuition fees.

Cooper says that is sore point.

Farage says nothing much will change, regardless of who gets in.

But the Tories are “probably sunk below the waterline,” he says.

He says the country needs a revolt. Reform UK is offering that, he says.

Rayner says Labour is only promising what it can fund.

Labour won’t put taxes up for working people, she says.

You are, says Mordaunt. She claims Starmer said that this week.

“Rubbish,” says Rayner.


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Fifth question: delivery

Q: Why is it that politicians promise things but nothing happens when they get into government?

Husain puts the question to Mordaunt, which the audience find amusing.

Mordaunt says the Tories will cut taxes. “That is in our DNA as Conservatives,” she says.

She tells people in the audience they cannot afford that.

Tory claim to be in favour of lower taxes ‘dishonesty on breathtaking scale’, says Farage

Farage complains more and more people doing middle-income jobs being dragged into the higher tax bands.

He says taxes have risen to a record level. And to hear Mordaunt claim the Tories are a low tax party is “dishonesty on a breathtaking scale”, he says.

Flynn says there is a conspiracy of silence on austerity.

And that is true of Brexit too, he says.

Brexit has impacted the economy more than the Covid pandemic, it has put your food bills up completely unnecessarily, and it has been an unmitigated disaster for the economy.

That generates a long round of applause.

Mordaunt says exports are at a record high.

Flynn says she knows how much damage Brexit has done to the economy.

Rayner rejects claim Labour planning 12 new tax rises

Mordaunt says this election is about the cost of living. The government has supported people through difficult times. But now the economy is recovery. “Those are your achievements,” she says.

She says the election must be about cutting taxes. There will be more announcements in the Tory manifesto next week.

Labour will put taxes up by £2,000, she says.

That’s a lie, says Rayner. You put taxes up.

Mordaunt accepts that, but she says “we hated that”. That is why the Tories went to bring them down.

She says we have heard about 12 new taxes from Labour.

That’s rubbish, says Rayner.

They are shouting over each other.

Husain insists Denyer gets a go.

“That was terribly dignified,” Denyer says. That goes down well with the audience.


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Fourth question: cost of living

Q: We are working to survive, not live. Who will change things for working people?

Ap Iorwerth says this is a change election. He is sure there will be change in No 10. But what does that represent, he says. He says he supports a plurality of voices.

He says the two-child cap should go.

When Tony Blair came to power, there was a sense things would be different, he says. He says he is not sure of that now.

Rayner says he understands what the questioner is saying. Labour would secure the economy, she says. Working people pay the price for that.

And she says the Great British Energy plan will bring prices down. “That is real change.”


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Mordaunt says immigration is too high. She says parliament should have an annual cap on numbers.

Rayner says the Tories have decimated public services.

Mordaunt says Keir Starmer campaigned for open borders.

Rayner says people are coming to the UK because people have not been trained to do the jobs needed.

Ap Iorwerth says the Tories and Labour are talking the same language.

Mordaunt says Labour can talk their language all they like, but they don’t mean it, she suggests.

Cooper says the Tories have made “a complete mess” of the immigration system and the asylum system. And yet there are still shortages in sectors like care. Care workers should get a higher minimum wage, she says.

Denyer asks how cold-hearted does Farage have to be to want to not let people bring their children with them if they are coming to the UK to do a care job.

She accepts there are problems with public services. But that is not the fault of asylum seekers. In the NHS a migrant is more likely to be treating you than being ahead of you in the queue, she says.


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Third question: immigration

Q: What would the parties do about immigration?

Flynn says the SNP believes in promoting immigration.

Farage quotes immigration numbers. Most of the people coming in are not productive; they are dependants, he says. “We are living through a population crisis,” he says. He says numbers have gone up by 10 million since Tony Blair was in power. That is making us poorer, he says. He says net migration needs to come down, so services like health and housing can catch up.

Ap Iorwerth says we need to change the tone. We need to stand up to the “bigotry” of Nigel Farage. The Tories and Labour won’t do that, he says. Plaid Cymru will.

Farage mocks him. “Open borders,” he shouts.

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage, leader of Plaid Cymru Rhun ap Iorwerth and Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

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Farage says NHS’s funding model is wrong and UK should opt for French-style insurance model instead

Ap Iorwerth says health workers need to be valued.

Farage says, while you can get great care, the NHS model is not working.

Other parties argue it is about money.

But that does not work, he claims. He says spending on health has gone from 7% of GDP to 11% of GDP.

The model is wrong.

Flynn says this is Farage “telling the public he does not believe in the NHS”.

Farage says he wants to change the way it is funded. France has a different model. It uses the insurance model. The service is managed like a private company. And that produces better results.

Cooper says the King’s Fund, a health service, has looked at this. It found the funding models did not make much difference. It was the amount of money that went in that mattered, she says.

(There is lovely irony in Farage, the architect of Brexit, arguing for Britain to follow an EU policy model.)


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Rayner rejects Mordaunt’s claim she does not back nuclear deterrent

Mordaunt says NHS waiting lists are four times higher in Labour-run Wales than in England. The country cannot afford a Labour government.

Rayner says Liz Truss crashed the economy, making care workers redundant.

Mordaunt says, even on her worst day, Truss believed in the nuclear deterrent.

“So do I,” says Rayner.

Rayner does not accept that cuts are coming.

Flynn asks if she is disagreeing with the IFS analysis.

Rayner ignores the point, and says Labour would ensure 40,000 more appointments a week.

Flynn says the non-dom revenue won’t close the fiscal gap that will be there. Labour needs to explain what it would do.

Rayner says Labour would use efficiencies to get more out of the service.

Flynn says that won’t fill an £18bn gap.


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Second question: health

Q: I’m about to start studying medicine. How can you ensure I graduate into a functioning NHS?

Cooper starts by wishing her luck. She says the Lib Dems want to hire thousands more GPs, so people can get an appointment within seven days.

Flynn says he was under the care of the NHS from the age of 14 to 32, because of a disability. He knows what it is like to live with chronic pain, he says.

In Scotland, there are no NHS strikes, he says. And he tells the questioner that in Scotland she would not pay for tuition fees.

You have record waits in Scotland, Husain says.

Flynn blames Covid and the austerity agenda. He says the Tories and Labour know there are cuts worth £18bn coming down the line.


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Mordaunt says she does not want the D-day row to become a political football.

Farage says it has become one already.

Ap Iorwerth says what we saw yesterday was panic – the same instinct that produced the “back of a fag packet” national service plan.

Cooper says she started yesterday watching video of her great-grandfather recalling his experience in the war. She says she finds the idea of the PM walking away from someone like that “completely and utterly unforgiveable”.


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Carla Denyer says the biggest threat to the UK is climate change. She says the defence budget could be spent more effectively.

Stephen Flynn confirms that the SNP does not support the nuclear deterrent.

And he says a PM who puts his own career ahead of war veterans “is no prime minister at all”.

We should all do our our national service and vote the Tories out, he says.

Rhun ap Iorwerth says yesterday was not a day for photo opportunties, as we saw from Farage yesterday. (He was in Normandy.)

Farage interrupts. He says he was there because he raised £100,000 for a London taxi charity to take veterans to Normandy.

Mordaunt pivots to Labour, and says Rayner and David Lammy voted against renewing Trident. That means the party cannot be trusted with nuclear deterrence she says.

Rayner comes back forcefully. She says it is the Tories who have run down the army. And she says her brother served in Iraq.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner (left) and Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt take part in the BBC election debate. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

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