Rishi Sunak has apologised for leaving D-Day events early in France in order to take part in a TV interview.

The Prime Minster sat down with ITV on Thursday to defend claims he made about Sir Keir Starmer’s tax plans, having left commemoration events to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day early.

He had appeared in Normandy earlier in the day to pay tribute to veterans but returned to Britain before the ceremony was over, while his rival Sir Keir remained alongside Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron and the Prince of Wales.

It later emerged that Mr Sunak had given a broadcast interview on the same day, a clip of which was shared by broadcaster Paul Brand.

Mr Brand told ITV News at Ten: “Today was the slot we were offered … we don’t know why.”

The Prime Minister has this morning apologised for his decision, saying it was “a mistake not to stay in France longer”.

In a statement on X, formerly Twitter, he said: “The 80th anniversary of D-Day has been a profound moment to honour the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our values, our freedom and our democracy.

“This anniversary should be about those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The last thing I want is for the commemorations to be overshadowed by politics.

“I care deeply about veterans and have been honoured to represent the UK at a number of events in Portsmouth and France over the past two days and to meet those who fought so bravely.

“After the conclusion of the British event in Normandy, I returned back to the UK. On reflection, it was a mistake not to stay in France longer – and I apologise.”

Shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth said: “The Prime Minister skipping off early from D-Day commemorations to record a television interview where he once again lied through his teeth is both an embarrassment and a total dereliction of duty.

“Our country deserves so much better than out-of-touch, desperate Rishi Sunak and his chaotic Tory Party.”