NIGEL Farage is facing claims of using “dog whistle” tactics by suggesting Rishi Sunak does not understand “our culture”.

The Reform UK leader made the suggestion in his attack on the Prime Minister for leaving the D-Day 80th anniversary commemorations in Normandy before the main international event.

Farage suggested his comments were in relation to the Prime Minister’s “class” rather than his background as the child of immigrants.

But Cabinet minister Mel Stride said he was “very uncomfortable” with the comments, while shadow justice secretary Shabana Mahmood said they were “completely unacceptable”.

In the wake of Sunak’s departure before the international event, Farage claimed the Prime Minister “doesn’t really care about our history, he doesn’t really care – frankly – about our culture”.

Asked what he meant by that on BBC1’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg, he said: “I know what your question is leading at – 40% of our contribution in World War One and World War Two came from the Commonwealth.

“He is utterly disconnected by class, by privilege, from how the ordinary folk in this country feel. He revealed that, I think spectacularly, when he left Normandy early.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak's D-Day move 'completely destroyed' his credibility, says John Swinney

“Out there now there are millions and millions of people who were Conservative voters, traditional Conservative voters, not the red-wallers, who are now thinking ‘Do we go on supporting the Conservatives or do we support Reform?’

“This is going to be, I think, the acid test of this election.”

Asked about Farage’s original comments, Stride (above) told the programme: “I think they are suggesting things – I’m not going to go any further than that because I didn’t want to stoke this whole thing up – but it just seems to me that that’s an ill-advised thing to have said.

“I feel very uncomfortable with that. We’ve had in our country, and it’s a source of great personal pride – as somebody who supported the Prime Minister, wanted him to be the leader of our party and our Prime Minister – that I’ve sat around a Cabinet table that’s the most diverse in history.

“I’m very proud of the fact that we have a British Asian who is right at the top of our Government.”

Mahmood (below) suggested Farage’s comments were a “dog whistle” attack – that would be heard by the intended recipients in one way while appearing otherwise uncontroversial.

She said: “I think this is a classic Nigel Farage trick, lean just enough to signal a bit of a dog whistle and then lean straight back and sound perfectly reasonable and say something good about the contribution that Commonwealth soldiers, ethnic minorities made towards the war effort.

“We can all see exactly what Nigel Farage is doing, he’s got form, it is completely unacceptable.

“This is a man that has a track record of seeking to divide communities who just wants to do it with a veneer of respectability whilst he’s at it.”