Rishi Sunak has vowed he will “not let you down” in reducing NHS waiting lists, repairing the economy and tackling illegal migration in his first party political broadcast as Prime Minister.
He blamed the pandemic for creating huge backlogs in the health service, and promised “hard-headed common sense” in approaching the migration issue.
“Our country faces some of the biggest challenges any of us will have seen in our lifetimes, with our economy, in our NHS on our borders,” Mr Sunak said in the clip, first broadcast on ITV.
“Covid has done huge harm to the NHS.
“It’s created massive backlogs, which we’re working through, but Britain’s heroic response to Covid shows that where the political will exists to really grip a problem we can bring everyone together and achieve the unthinkable.
“That takes leadership so I’ve immediately set in train a new approach and taken the best of our experience from fighting Covid to reduce NHS backlogs and get patients treated quicker…
“I’m determined to get the number of people on waiting lists falling and I will not let you down.”
The Prime Minister admitted earlier on Wednesday that he had used private healthcare following weeks of speculation about whether he relied on NHS services.
He said he was registered with an NHS GP but told MPs he had used “independent” healthcare in the past.
On addressing illegal migration, Mr Sunak said in the pre-recorded video: “We’re taking decisive action already, deploying hundreds of new agents to tackle immigration criminals, putting an end to the appalling situation where taxpayers are paying to keep illegal migrants in hotels.
“And we’re introducing new laws that make it unambiguously clear that if you come to our country illegally, you will not have the right to stay and will be removed.
“Britain will always be a place for global talent and those in dire need.
“But basic human decency must be accompanied by hard-headed common sense.”
In the clip, set to dramatic music, the Prime Minister also touted the “difficult but fair decisions” he had taken to get borrowing and debt under control.
He reiterated some of the five priorities announced in his new year’s speech last week, halving inflation, growing the economy, reducing debt, cutting NHS waiting lists and stopping small boat Channel crossings.