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‘We wish the king the very best’ – Caithness MP Jamie Stone


By Gregor White

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King Charles on a visit to Canisbay Church of Scotland along with minister Rev Janet Easton-Berry last year. Picture: Mandy MacDonald/Northern Studios
King Charles on a visit to Canisbay Church of Scotland along with minister Rev Janet Easton-Berry last year. Picture: Mandy MacDonald/Northern Studios

A far north MP has wished the king the very best following the news that he has bee diagnosed with cancer.

It was announced on Monday that King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer which came to light during a prostate operation.

Buckingham Palace did not say exactly what form of cancer the king has, though they did confirm that it was not prostate cancer.

The king is to step back from public-facing duties while he undergoes treatment but will continue with formal duties including meetings with the Prime Minister and the signing of Acts into law.

Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, Jamie Stone, said he heard the news when it was announced in the House of Commons.

“Suddenly, the debate on the Finance Bill was interrupted by Mr Speaker standing up,” he said. “He then told us that His Majesty the King has been diagnosed with cancer and is receiving treatment. It would be fair to say that on hearing those words a chill fell on the Chamber.”

He added: “I think I speak for just about everyone in the Highlands in saying that we wish him the very best treatment and a speedy recovery, not least because he has been a particularly good friend to the Far North for many years and has taken great trouble with more local people than I could name. That sort of relationship is personal and very special.

“’Cancer’ is indeed a scary and isolating word. This is why the Royal Family’s decision to inform the public about the king’s diagnosis is so brave and progressive, and one which will help cancer patients all across the UK feel less alone. We all hope that once he is recovered, he will come back to his beloved Castle of Mey and see us all again.”

Beyond the king’s health, though, Mr Stone said the announcement had caused him to reflect on health provision more generally, particularly for the Far North.

He said: “In a nutshell, this is why I feel so very strongly that the removal of some treatments, including women’s health and maternity provisions, from the Far North is so very wrong,” he said. “From women who require regular and routine appointments, to expectant mums who have just gone into labour to give birth, to women who need urgent diagnosis or surgery, having to travel a return journey of over 200 miles to Inverness to access the nearest health service is straightforward out of order. And when the road is blocked owing to storms or snow, then it is unthinkable. And with the government in Edinburgh centralising more and more services further south, more and more patients will find themselves in this potentially life-threatening predicament.”


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