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‘I’m eternally grateful to NHS,’ PM will say

Theresa May is to take on critics of the Tories’ record on public services with a highly personal speech about her own experiences.

The Prime Minister will declare that when she was diagnosed with diabetes “the NHS was there for me” and that she relies on it every day.

She will also point to her own background and say it was state schools that helped her get to university and then pursue her career in politics.

Addressing the Conservative Spring Forum, she will admit that public services face real challenges – but claim doubts about the Tory record are unfair.

“Some people question our motives,” the PM will say. “They wonder whether we care enough about our NHS and schools.

“Whether we truly respect the people who work in them. And understand that people rely on them.”

Ambulances outside the Royal Liverpool Hospital
Video: February: ‘Outstanding’ hospital struggling to meet targets

She will claim everyone in the Conservative Party cares deeply about public services, uses them, and many Tories rely on them.

“We each have our own story of how they have been there for us throughout our lives,” she will say.

“Mine starts with state schools which helped me to get into a great university and set me on course for a rewarding career.”

She will say that first as a councillor and now as an MP she has seen first-hand how important public services are to people from all walks of life.

And in a rare comment about her diabetes, which requires her to inject insulin five times a day, she will say: “And when I was diagnosed with diabetes, the NHS was there for me.

“Skilled and compassionate, helping me every step of the way to manage my condition and live a normal life. I rely on the NHS every day and I am eternally grateful to them.

“That is an experience replicated right across the country, by people of all political persuasions.

The Pledge
Video: February: The Pledge – Does the NHS waste money?

“We know how much we care about our vital public services, and we know we have a strong record of delivery in government.

“So we might think that the public’s doubts about us are unfair. But they are a political fact which we must face up to.”

She will add: “So as we carry on delivering Brexit, and carry on taking the action needed to build an economy fit for the future we as a party, and as a government, must mount a determined effort to win and keep the public’s trust in our management of public services.

“To do that, we need to be unafraid to speak out clearly and passionately about our values as Conservatives and what motivate us in politics.

“While always defending our record in office, we also need to accept that our public services today do face real challenges, and we must be clear about the action we are taking to help them.”

The report showed 90% of primaries and 79% of secondary schools are now rated as good or outstanding
Video: December: 130 schools not improved for a decade, report says

In her attack on Labour’s policies on public services, the PM will make a veiled reference to Jeremy Corbyn’s controversial stance on the Russian poisoning row.

“Time and again, they are on the wrong side of the argument and the wrong side of history,” the Prime Minister will say.

But reacting to the PM’s speech, Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner MP said: “Once again Theresa May offers no solutions to the huge problems our country is facing.

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“She is desperately trying to pretend that she cares about our public services but you can’t trust a word that she says.

“The truth is that under this Government our public services are in crisis. NHS waiting lists have risen, schools budgets have been cut and local councils have seen their funding slashed.”

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