Friday, December 4

Factbox: British leaders who have suffered illness in office

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in hospital for tests after suffering persistent symptoms of the coronavirus, but he continues to lead the government and work on official business.

FILE PHOTO: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks at the Hallam Conference Centre in London, Britain December 18, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Which other British leaders have suffered illness whilst in office?

TONY BLAIR, early 2000s

Tony Blair twice underwent treatment for a heart condition while prime minister in the early 2000s, each time briefly cutting back on his workload for a couple of days.

Officials said that if Blair were to have been incapacitated, his then-deputy John Prescott would have taken over until a new leader was elected.

ANTHONY EDEN, 1957

Eden resigned as prime minister citing ill-health in 1957. He suffered complications from a series of gall bladder operations that caused fevers and other symptoms.

WINSTON CHURCHILL, 1953

In June 1953, Churchill suffered a stroke while in office. His illness was kept so secret that even some senior ministers were unaware and an official statement simply said he had had little respite and needed complete rest.

Churchill surprised doctors by recovering to carry on his duties, returning to Downing Street and running the cabinet two months later.

ANDREW BONAR LAW, 1923

Law is Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister, resigning from office after just 211 days after being diagnosed with terminal throat cancer and left unable to speak in parliament.

DAVID LLOYD GEORGE, 1918

Lloyd George contracted influenza in 1918 on a visit to Manchester in northern England during World War One. According to historians, he spent ten days seriously ill in bed, during which time the public was not made fully aware of the extent of his sickness.

HENRY CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN, 1908

Campbell-Bannerman died in No. 10 Downing Street shortly after resigning as prime minister due to ill health.