It has been a rotten week for the Tories both north and south of the border.

In Scotland, Douglas Ross stabbed a sickly colleague in the back and gallantly took on the vacancy resulting from said stabbing.

Meanwhile, after spending most of the campaign courting his core vote, Rishi Sunak managed to alienate them by nipping off early from the D-Day celebrations.

It was a staggeringly inept decision that has sparked a furious backlash from his political opponents, his own party, veterans groups and according to pollster Savanta, 61% of Tory voters.

The whole situation was almost enough to make you feel sorry for Penny Mordaunt who was Sunak’s proxy at the BBC’s seven-way TV debate.

What made it particularly tricky for the sword-wielding leadership favourite, is that she’s the MP for Portsmouth, a constituency where they really care about D-Day and veterans.

“What happened was completely wrong,” she said upfront. “The Prime Minister has rightly apologised for that, apologised to veterans but also to all of us because he was representing all of us.”


“I don’t want this issue to become a political football,” she added, forgetting that it already is and that it was Sunak who inadvertently kicked it first.

There were seven parties on stage but sometimes it felt like there were only two, with Mordaunt and Labour’s deputy Angela Rayner the main players.

The SNP’s Stephen Flynn and Reform’s Nigel Farage managed to get their elbows in, but the Greens, Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems struggled to be noticed.

(Image: PA)

Flynn’s biggest moment was when he won a round of applause by speaking in defence of migration.

However, given the UK wide nature of the debate, he got away with some things as well, with host Mishal Hussan not picking him up on his party’s slightly confused policy on new oil and gas licences.

He also swerved a question on Police Scotland’s decision not to investigate minor crimes.

The clash of the night came over tax when Mordaunt repeated the PM’s now widely discredited claim that Labour would hike taxes by £2,000.

“Angela Rayner’s party – Keir Starmer confirmed this earlier this week – they are going to put up your taxes by £2,000 per working household,” Mordaunt said.

“That is a lie”, Rayner replied. She added that the Government had raised taxes to a “record level”.

The pair then began to shout over each other before host Mishal Hussain cut them off.

(Image: PA)

The beamer of the night went to Lib Dem Daisy Cooper who accused the Tories of breaking “promise after promise.”

“Do you remember going back on the tuition fees pledge?” Hussain asked.

“That's a sore subject for us, for sure,” the sheepish liberal replied after a brief pause.

There are six more of these debates. The election can't come soon enough