Sunak denies he plans to leave for California after an election defeat

The prime minister has responded to jibes about him leaving the country with a vow to stay in Britain after the election – win or lose

David Maddox
Political editor
Monday 27 May 2024 20:15 BST
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrives at Birmingham airport
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrives at Birmingham airport (PA Wire)

Rishi Sunak has dismissed jibes that he plans to jet off to California for a new life after what some believe is an inevitable election defeat.

Speaking to ITV’s Robert Peston, Mr Sunak has pledged to stay in the UK whether his party wins or loses the election on 4 July.

It comes after gossip that he had called the election early so he could arrange his daughters’ schooling in a new home in the USA in time for September.

Responding to a direct accusation about his alleged plans to move to California from former Tory minister Lord Goldsmith, Mr Sunak retorted: “It’s simply not true. I mean, it’s just simply not true.”

Asked if he is committed to staying in the UK, he said: “Of course I am. Of course, and this is my home. I mean, my football team just got promoted back in the Premiership and I hope to be watching them for years to come in the Premier League.”

Prime minister Rishi Sunak during his visit to Chesham United Football Club
Prime minister Rishi Sunak during his visit to Chesham United Football Club (PA Wire)

Mr Peston pressed: “So this idea that you’re cutting and running and that’s what the election is all about. address that because so many people are saying that?”

Mr Sunak insisted: “You know, I grew up instilled by my parents had an enormous sense of service, service to our community when I grew up in Southampton and now service to our country. And that’s something I feel very deeply. People know about my background. I’m, I’m in this because I want to make a difference to people’s lives.”

The prime minister also used the interview to tackle criticism of his national service plan for school leavers, which has been criticised by one of his ministers Steve Baker because of its compulsory nature.

The prime minister said: “I have great respect for Steve, of course I do. And he’s a he’s a valued colleague and good friend, but I think with citizenship comes responsibility, as well as rights and we talk a lot about rights these days. I think it’s important to remember that we will have a responsibility to each other to our society and communities and to our country.

“And what this new modern form of national service will do will strengthen make sure that we foster that genuine culture of service, give young people the opportunity to contribute to their community, to society to our country, and in the process, not just gain valuable skills for themselves, but also strengthen our collective country’s security and resilience.”

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