Sunak breaks tradition to thank public servants over the phone

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The Prime Minister broke with the tradition of broadcasting a festive message to the nation by making direct contact with those serving their country instead.

Mr Sunak spoke to HMS Protector crew and diplomats in Pakistan, Somalia and Ukraine, and a holiday activities and food programme in London to thank them for their “sacrifices” after an “extraordinary year”.

He said: “Whether you are working in Mogadishu or Milton Keynes this Christmas, I want you to know that I am personally grateful for your sacrifice.

“This year has been an extraordinary year for so many reasons, but most of all, it’s been a year in which the true spirit and resilience of the United Kingdom has been on show, from the support given to our Ukrainian friends, to the work being done to ensure essential aid reaches the most vulnerable overseas.

“And closer to home, those who have checked on friends and neighbours, volunteers, public servants and essential service staff all working over Christmas – I am truly humbled by your dedication and I know your selflessness this festive season will spread cheer across the country.”

Mr Sunak is spending his first Christmas as Prime Minister in his constituency of Richmond in North Yorkshire but will be updated on any urgent issues by his Downing Street team.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who is spending Christmas with his family in London, used his festive message to reflect on the struggle of the Ukrainian people.

He said: “I hope this Christmas is a joyous and relaxing time for you, however you are spending it. I’m looking forward to sharing time with my family, away from the day to day of work,” he said.

“But as I do I will be keeping in my heart all those who are working to keep us safe.

“Those looking after the less fortunate, and our friends in Ukraine, facing the horror of Putin’s appalling attacks. Their struggle for freedom inspires us all.”

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