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New Commons Speaker ‘shocked’ at diabetes diagnosis

Sir Lindsay Hoyle said the symptoms were so severe that medics wanted him to stay in hospital.

Speaker of The House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)
Speaker of The House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

By Catherine Wylie, PA

House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle was diagnosed with diabetes just days before the General Election.

The 62-year-old has lost almost three stone in recent months and was urged to visit doctors by his wife Catherine and other family members.

Sir Lindsay said the symptoms were so severe that doctors wanted him to stay in hospital, but he refused to miss the election campaign.

“They said ‘We’re really probably going to have to keep you in’. I said ‘Well, that’s impossible, I’m in the middle of a general election with 10 days to go’,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

He said he is “more or less 100% sure” that his diabetes is type 1, and said the ketones in his body were “off the scale”, adding: “The fact that suddenly I go in, and then I’ve got to start injecting insulin came as a real shock.”

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Sir Lindsay in the Speaker’s chair earlier this week, and in 2016 when he was deputy speaker (PA)

He added: “Never, ever did I expect it would happen to me. And to come at such a time, it really is taking a lot of getting used to.”

Sir Lindsay said he has spoken to fellow diabetes sufferer Theresa May.

“She said to me ‘Look, if you ever need a chat, if you ever want some support…’ She was really kind, very considerate and said ‘Your life doesn’t have to change’.

“And I think that’s what’s so important,” he said.

Sir Lindsay said the diagnoses “is still a shock” and his family are “very worried”, but said he is determined to continue his roles as an MP for the Lancashire seat of Chorley and as the new Speaker.

“I’m on tablets, as well as having to inject insulin, but it doesn’t stop me carrying on and nothing is going to be a barrier to me,” he said.

“I’m going to cope with it. I’m going to manage it. I’m going to get through this.

“The fact is I feel really well. We know what it is – that’s the good news – and of course, I have got to get over it and get on with my job.

“The House of Commons elected me to be the Speaker and there’s nothing that’s going to stop me from doing that.”

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Sir Lindsay Hoyle is dragged to the Speaker’s chair following John Bercow’s departure earlier this year (House of Commons/PA)

Sir Lindsay cited Mrs May, who also has type 1 diabetes, as an inspiration and says family and Commons’ staff have been very supportive.

Sir Lindsay spoke about his health condition during an interview with Rob McLoughlin for the forthcoming series Mr Speaker.

Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “Living with type 1 diabetes can be hard, but as Sir Lindsay’s experiences have shown, with the right support from your healthcare team – and careful management – people can live full and healthy lives following their diagnosis.

“It’s often thought that type 1 diabetes only affects children but, while it’s less common to see someone of Sir Lindsay’s age diagnosed, it can affect a person at any time in their life.

“That’s why knowing the signs and symptoms of diabetes – the four Ts – can be a life-saver.

“So if you’re going to the toilet a lot, experiencing increased thirst, are more tired than usual, or losing weight without trying, you should speak to a healthcare professional.”

PA

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