Rishi Sunak ‘incredibly excited’ about daughters taking part in national service | Politics News

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Rishi Sunak said he was “incredibly excited” for his daughters to do national service while undergoing questioning in Sky News’ Battle for Number 10.

The prime minister was asked by a student from Grimsby, where the event was being held, why a young person would believe the Conservative Party had their best interests at heart in light of the policy announcement.

Mr Sunak replied: “I have two young girls. I’m incredibly excited for them to do it because I think it’ll be transformative for our country.

“It will provide skills and opportunities for young people that will set them up for the rest of their lives, foster a culture of service in our society, bring people closer together and contribute to our long-term resilience and security.”

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The national service announcement was one of a number of policies that was put under the microscope during Mr Sunak’s grilling by Beth Rigby in Grimsby.

A snap poll taken after the event revealed that almost two-thirds of voters believed Sir Keir Starmer performed better than Mr Sunak.

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The YouGov poll for Sky News found 64% of those questioned said the Labour leader came out on top, compared with 36% for the prime minister.

During the grilling by Sky’s political editor, the prime minister was also challenged about his record on NHS waiting lists, immigration and the tax burden.

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Sunak: Immigration ‘too high’

He was told net migration over the last three years is more than double compared to the three-year period before the 2016 EU referendum.

Asked how he thought voters in Grimsby – who overwhelmingly voted for Brexit – would feel about such figures, he said: “It’s too high. I have been very clear that it’s too high and I’m sure people feel frustrated and angry about it.”

He added: “Since I have been in charge, numbers down 10% and visas issued this year down by a quarter. I’ve had this job for 18 months, numbers were down last year, they’re down considerably at the start of this year and they will keep coming down because of the measures I’ve already announced.”

‘Actions taken by this government actually make me feel ashamed’

The prime minister also faced tough moments with the audience when quizzed about his record and recent behaviour.

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PM ‘deeply sad’ over D-Day ‘mistake’

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Amy, a voter from Leeds, said that although she had been a “lifelong true blue” she now considered herself an “undecided voter”, explaining: “Actions taken by this government actually make me feel ashamed.”

She cited Mr Sunak’s early departure from D-Day commemorations and pandemic rule-breaking in Downing Street when he was chancellor.

Mr Sunak repeated his apology over his D-Day departure and said of COVID rule-breaking: “Those rules were difficult for everyone to follow and the government should absolutely have gone above and beyond in following them.

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“I deeply regret what happened, I apologised for it at the time and it was an extraordinarily difficult time for our country.

“I know that and I know people will remember that and all I can say is, look, trust takes time to rebuild through actions.”

Mr Sunak’s announcement that he would introduce a new form of mandatory national service if re-elected on 4 July provided the main talking point at the beginning of the election campaign.

Under the plan, 18-year-olds would be given the choice of a full-time military placement for 12 months or a scheme to volunteer for one weekend a month for a year.

Labour immediately dismissed the idea as “desperate” and said it amounted to a “teenage Dad’s Army”.

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