Tom Watson vows Labour crackdown on diabetes as he reveals diagnosis
Labour's Tom Watson has revealed that he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes last year, as he committed Labour to reversing a sharp rise in the disease.
The party's deputy leader has lost more than six stone since being diagnosed with the illness - which can lead to a string of health complications including blindness and strokes - in 2017.
He told the Express and Star newspaper that a drastic change in his diet and exercise regime - including cutting out all sugars - had helped to combat the problem, and he pledged that a Labour government would halt the rise of the condition within one parliamentary term.
Mr Watson said: "I want the Labour party to spearhead the fight against Type 2 diabetes. The Government have failed time and again to have the ambition we need to crack the problem.
"If we don’t find the answers quickly, the NHS will not cope with the projected increase in sugar related life threatening diseases.”
The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has soared in recent decades. By 2016, seven percent of adults in England were diagnosed with the condition, up from just three percent in 1998.
Mr Watson - who said he had been motivated to get healthy after "reading about Labour politicians that died early in their 50s and 60s" - also vowed to set up a new independent commission of experts to look at diabetes.
The commission is set to consider proposals including tougher regulation on food manufacturers in a bid to force them to cut sugar levels.
He also pledged to work with Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth on a cross-Whitehall plan to combat obesity more widely.
Mr Watson said: "We are facing a public health crisis as the catastrophic levels of obesity and Type 2 diabetes in the UK are too dangerous to ignore."