Elections

Tory Smear Backfires as Labour Candidate Raises Funds on D-Day

Main image to the post Tory Smear Backfires as Labour Candidate Raises Funds on D-Day

Angela Rayner, Labour's deputy leader, has accused the Conservatives of smearing a Labour general election candidate who participated in a fundraising event for the Royal British Legion. The candidate, Bayo Alaba, parachuted into Normandy on the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Tory councillor Daniel Nelson sparked controversy by mocking Alaba's absence from the constituency on the anniversary. In a post on X, Nelson boasted about his own "fantastic door knocking sessions" with the Conservative candidate, Gavin Haran, and questioned Alaba's whereabouts, asking, "Is the Labour candidate still in France?"

It was quickly revealed that Alaba was in France participating in the D-Day 80th anniversary commemorations, specifically parachuting into Normandy as part of a fundraising effort for the Royal British Legion, a charity supporting armed forces personnel and veterans. Alaba himself stated that his jump was a "small homage to our forebears who gave everything for us on those beaches 80 years ago."

Labour's leadership swiftly defended Alaba, with Rayner accusing the Tories of "smearing" the candidate. She emphasized that Alaba was raising money for the Royal British Legion and Trust Links charities, stating, "We’re proud of him. Shame on you." Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting echoed this sentiment, expressing pride in Alaba for putting "country before party" and condemning Nelson's tweet.

Following the backlash, Nelson claimed he was glad Alaba's jump had gone well and that he had donated to the appeal.

This incident comes just days after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak faced criticism for skipping out on D-Day commemorations to participate in a TV interview. Sunak's decision to cut short his trip to France and miss the international portion of the celebrations drew condemnation from various figures, including a Normandy veteran and the former head of the Royal Navy.

Admiral Lord West of Spithead, the ex-head of the navy, described Sunak's absence as "stupid" and an "own goal," criticizing his advisors for not urging him to stay for the major international ceremony. He concluded, "What a cock-up.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09