The UK’s Palestinian Solidarity Campaign has sunk to a new low today after its director said he was “proud” to speak at the D-Day protest in Portsmouth.

Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of the British Armed Forces, described Ben Jamal as “a disgrace” after the pro-Palestinian activist addressed the rally that coincided with D-Day commemorations on Portsmouth’s Southsea common.

He said, “You are a disgrace. Event in Portsmouth is to commemorate the brave British, American & Canadian soldiers who set out from there & other ports to the Normandy beaches, risking & in many cases forfeiting their lives to liberate Europe. You’re spitting on their graves. Disgusting.

The commemoration of the 75th anniversary D-Day was attended by the Queen, Prime Minister Theresa May, as well as President Trump and other world leaders.

Portsmouth councillor, Jane Warburton, told the BBC ahead of the event, “For many of the veterans, having the President of America attend the event will bring international focus to this global commemoration and present a once in a lifetime opportunity for the veterans.

One person wrote online: “Today we honour those that are braver than you or I will ever be. If you are coming here to Portsmouth to protest. Please don’t. That’s not what today is for.”

One of the counter-protesters, Steve Cross from Portsmouth, said: “These guys protesting today, it’s just the wrong day. Today is about remembering and paying respects.

He added, “If you want to protest him then fine, but not today. They are being totally disrespectful to the D-Day anniversary. They chose the wrong day and the wrong city.”

The ceremony went ahead smoothly, despite the small group of protesters in the centre of Portsmouth. The commemoration told the story of the build-up to D-Day through live music, performance and testimonials, and was broadcast on big screens on the common to those not invited into the main event.