Residents in a North Yorkshire military town have been reacting with disgust to Rishi Sunak's decision to leave the D-Day 80th anniversary commemorations in France early yesterday.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly apologised for leaving the memorial events early but insisted voters should “judge me by my actions” in supporting the armed forces.

Mr Sunak left Normandy before a major international ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of the Allied landings so he could record a TV interview as part of his General Election campaign push for votes.

In the face of a backlash from political opponents and some in his own party, Mr Sunak admitted that “on reflection” he should have stayed for the event where world leaders including US President Joe Biden marked the sacrifice made by troops landing on the Normandy beaches in 1944.

But for some in Catterick, the largest British Army garrison in the world, the decision speaks volumes.

The Northern Echo spoke to people in the town - in Rishi Sunak's Richmond constituency - to ask what they thought of his decision and if his apology was enough.

One woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "It's not alright at all.

"It's shocking what he has done. Keir Starmer was there and he stuck around into the afternoon.

"What is important to Rishi Sunak? It's clearly not the local area."

Mike Oxtinks, representing the Darlington Veterans Community, expressed his shock at the "audacity" of Sunak's response to the situation.

He said: "I think it's disgusting that he has the bare-faced audacity to not give the time to the lads who gave their all for the freedom of democracy.

"It shows that he should not be dictating about what happens in this country and that his idea for national service won't get the time needed either."

Another Catterick resident echoed these thoughts and said that leaving the veterans early was "disgusting".

(Image: Northern Echo)

She said: "It is disgusting to be honest. To not see it through is disgraceful.

"It's an important part of our lives. We wouldn't be here if not for those men.

"President Joe Biden flew over from America and he stayed for the day."

There were Catterick residents who said they believed that the Prime Minister's apology should draw a line under the issue. 

One said: "I think that an apology is enough. He has apologised for what he did."

Another said: "I think they should leave him alone and let him get on with it.

"He hasn't been in power long enough. He has apologised and that's that."

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One veteran spoke to Sky News and said that the Prime Minister had let the country down.

Ken Hay, 98, who was captured as a prisoner of war just weeks after D-Day said: "I don’t have a great regard for politicians."

He told Sky News: "He lets the country down.

"It’s not the representation of how we’re trying to weld things together to keep the peace."

The veteran suggested Mr Sunak had decided to "bail out, let them get on with it because ‘I want to stand in the election, I want my seat back".