December 20, 2019 / 3:18 PM / 2 months ago

UK parliamentary Speaker diagnosed with diabetes just days before election

Speaker of the House of Commons Lindsay Hoyle heads to the Lords chamber through the Central Lobby during the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London, Britain December 19, 2019. Adrian Dennis/Pool via REUTERS

(Reuters) - The new Speaker of Britain’s House of Commons Lindsay Hoyle said on Friday he had been shocked to learn he has diabetes, probably type 1, just days before this month’s general election, but refused to miss the campaign for treatment.

The 62-year-old was urged to stay in hospital after losing nearly three stones (42 lb) in the lead-up to polling day, but insisted he felt well enough to fulfill his new role.

“I’m going to get through this. The House of Commons elected me to be the Speaker and there’s nothing that’s going to stop me from doing that,” Hoyle added in a statement.

Left untreated, type 1 diabetes can be life-threatening and can develop at any time. The pancreas stops producing insulin, leading to weight and muscle loss and fatigue. 

Hoyle cited fellow type 1 diabetic and former Prime Minister Theresa May as an inspiration and said Commons’ staff have been very supportive.

His openness in talking about the condition was praised by the charity Diabetes UK.

Chief Executive Chris Askew said: “Living with type 1 diabetes can be hard, but as Sir Lindsay’s experiences have shown, with the right support from your health care team and careful management, people can live full and healthy lives following their diagnosis.”

Hoyle was unanimously re-elected as Speaker - in which role he referees and moderates parliamentary debates - five days after the Dec. 12 election, having first won the race to replace former Speaker John Bercow in November.

He is now undergoing further treatment.  

Reporting by Joanna Taylor; editing by Stephen Addison

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