PM Debate: Jeremy Hunt and Rory Stewart Vow to 'Sort Out' Unfinished Social Care

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt and fellow PM hopeful Rory Stewart have both promised to make social care their top priority if they become Britain’s next Prime Minister.

Only two of the five Conservative MPs singled out social care as a top priority when they faced the TV cameras on Sunday evening in Channel 4’s live debate ‘Britain’s Next PM’.

Broadcast to the nation, with PM frontrunner Boris Johnson notably absent, the TV debate saw Mr Hunt reference his grandmother who lived till she was 100-years-old.

“I know what it’s like for someone in the very last stages of their life, what an incredibly difficult period that is”, Jeremy Hunt said. “Every Conservative wants to say that every single older person in our country will die with dignity and respect. And if we’re honest that does not happen at the moment. “Where would I prioritise extra money for public services? The social care system.

“I actually secured rather a large settlement for the NHS, which we need to put in place. I also was the first Secretary for Health and Social Care” and referred to social care as “unfinished business and what I want to sort out.”

International Development Secretary Rory Stewart said his “number one priority” is adult social care. Repeating his mantra that social care is “the great unfinished revolution of our society” he said “And you feel it”.

“When I see an 88-year-old woman in my constituency looking after a 92-year-old doubly incontinent man changing his nappies every two hours through the night.

“As the father of a two-year-old, having to change the nappies and knowing that my two-year-old is going to get out of those nappies; and that I’m young and fit and she isn’t.”

“When I think of my mother who’s at hospital at the moment at the age of 83; it is that I think on which our civilisation should be tested.”

While the delivery of Brexit (and whether or not a ‘no deal’ Brexit could be achieved) featured heavily in the TV debate, the PM candidates also spoke about issues such as mental health.

Anna Sterling, an audience member in the TV studio, spoke about her son who has autism and anxiety. She asked the politicians: “How would you get rid of the postcode lottery in respect to services for people who have mental health and invisible disabilities?”

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “I know people very close to me who have suffered from mental illness and people who are indeed on the autistic spectrum.

"I know having grown up with a sister who was living with a disability how much it matters … to give them the chance to live with dignity and to give them the same choices and opportunities that all of us have.”

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Jeremy Hunt said: “I was responsible for the health service for longer than anyone else. Mental health was one of my big priorities and let me say now that we do not do as well as we should have on mental health.

“We have put in place a plan that will put mental health support in every school in the country to try and avoid precisely the problem that you’ve had with your son.”

Fellow PM hopeful Dominic Raab said addressing mental health issues meant “also making sure that we’ve got GP practices and a wider hub of services which can do things that you don’t need to go to a big hospital for.”

As Channel 4 presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy wrapped up the debate by letting the PM hopefuls make their pitches directly to the television audience, viewers at home expressed mixed emotions to their comments.

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