Rishi Sunak reveals he HAS used private healthcare 'in the past'

Rishi Sunak reveals he HAS used private healthcare ‘in the past’ but says he is from an ‘NHS family’ in clashes with Keir Starmer at PMQs 

Rishi Sunak revealed he has used private healthcare ‘in the past’ today as he clashed with Keir Starmer at PMQs.

The premier – known as one of the wealthiest MPs – moved to quash speculation over his use of the NHS.

Kicking off the first Commons questions session of the New Year, Mr Sunak said he was registered with an NHS doctor and stressed he came from an ‘NHS family’.  

The comments came after Mr Sunak repeatedly refused to clarify his stance on private treatement. Health Secretary Steve Barclay said this morning that he did not use private – but stressed he would not criticise anyone who did.  

Mr Sunak was squaring up to the Labour leader after a poll found that the Tories are 22 points behind in crucial ‘Red Wall’ seats.

Rishi Sunak will square up against Keir Starmer in the Commons after a poll found that the Tories are 22 points behind in crucial ‘Red Wall’ seats

Mr Sunak’s personal ratings are also far behind Sir Keir’s in the areas that delivered Boris Johnson’s historic majority in 2019 – with voters seemingly furious about the handling of the cost of living crisis.

Downing Street has been trying to stabilise the government in the wake of Liz Truss’s disastrous stint as leader. Mr Sunak will use a televised party political broadcast this evening to deliver a prime ministerial address, after he laid out five priorities on which the public can judge him.   

But as yet there are few signs of a Conservative recovery in the polls, which are still generally showing Labour more than 20 points ahead.

The latest Redfield & Wilton Strategies survey of Red Wall seats, conducted on Sunday and Monday, put Labour on 51 points.

The Tories were on 29 per cent.

At the general election in 2019 the Conservatives were 9 points ahead in the constituencies.

Mr Sunak’s personal rating was negative 19 points in the Red Wall, with 45 per cent disapproving of his performance and 26 per cent approving.

Sir Keir was the favoured choice as PM between the two, on 42 per cent support to 32 per cent for Mr Sunak. 

Two thirds did not think the government was taking the right steps to deal with the cost-of-living crisis -up five points since November – compared to just 20 per cent who believed it was. 

Labour was more trusted on immigration and all other policy areas except the Ukraine war, where the Tories were marginally preferred. 

A trail from Mr Sunak’s broadcast message shows him sitting behind a desk, flanked by union flags and with what appears to be a takeaway coffee cup.

He was previously pictured with a £180 smart coffee mug that he had apparently been gifted by his wife. 

Mr Sunak used a televised party political broadcast to deliver a prime ministerial address, after he laid out five priorities on which the public can judge him

Mr Sunak’s personal ratings are also far behind Sir Keir’s in the areas that delivered Boris Johnson’s historic majority in 2019

Sir Keir has seen his approval ratings dip but is still in positive territory

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