Rishi Sunak says accusation he will move to California after election defeat 'simply untrue'

Speaking to ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston the prime minister defended his key policy and rebutted claims he was planning on moving out of the UK

The prime minister has said claims he will move to California if he loses the election were "simply untrue."

Speaking to ITV News during his first sitdown interview of the election Rishi Sunak responded to accusations from former Tory minister Lord Goldsmith who said the PM would "disappear off to California in a few weeks."

The prime minister repeatedly rejected the idea saying: "It's simply not true, I mean, it's just simply not true."

'This is my home, I mean my football team just got promoted back into the premiership'

When asked if he was committed to staying in the UK Mr Sunak said: "Of course, 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."

He added he was committed to staying in the UK and Parliament for many years regardless of the outcome of the election.

The prime minister also defended his new National Service policy despite refusing to comment on what sanctions people would face if they refused to take part in it.

He said he would ask the Royal Commission established to make recommendations over the policy's implementation to make suggestions on "incentives and sanctions."

He said many European countries had forms of national service the UK could take examples from.

The prime minister said he was planning to stay in the UK regardless of the outcome of the election. Credit: ITV News

The prime minister also said only a small minority of people will go on to do the military element which will be "highly selective" with most young people doing some form of civic service.

He also defended taking some of the estimated £2.5bn cost of the policy out of funds designated for levelling up, saying it was "the best possible way to use that money."

He said: "If we look at what we use that money for that money is used to provide opportunities for young people, particularly for those who are disconnected."

He said the plan was "an example of the bold action that I'm prepared to take to deliver that secure future and that will provide young people with skills and opportunities for life."

Mr Sunak said the ultimate aim would be to "foster a culture of service which will make society more cohesive."

When asked about Conservative MP Steve Baker's criticism that the policy would infringe on personal liberties the PM said: "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."

Have you heard our new podcast Talking Politics? Every week Tom, Robert and Anushka dig into the biggest issues dominating the political agenda…