Theresa May has spoken of her shock after being diagnosed with a chronic illness, but insisted it will not affect her demanding political career.
The Home Secretary was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes two months ago and must now inject herself with insulin at least twice a day for the rest of her life, revealed the Mail on Sunday.
Commentators had seized on Mrs May's dramatic weight loss over the last 18 months as proof that she was undergoing a style makeover in preparation for a future leadership bid, but the Conservative Cabinet minister told the newspaper that dropping two stones was partly down to the illness.
Mrs May said: "The diabetes doesn't affect how I do the job or what I do. It's just part of life ... so it's a case of head down and getting on with it. It was a real shock and, yes, it took me a while to come to terms with it."
'It started last November. I'd had a bad cold and cough for quite a few weeks," she said. "I went to my GP and she did a blood test which showed I'd got a very high sugar level - that's what revealed the diabetes.
'The symptoms are tiredness, drinking a lot of water, losing weight, but it's difficult to isolate things. I was drinking a lot of water. But I do anyway. There was weight loss but then I was already making an effort to be careful about diet and to get my gym sessions in. Tiredness - speak to any politician and they will tell you the hours they work. Tiredness can be part of the job. It is full on."
Pressed on whether the illness would prevent her one day succeeding David Cameron, she told the newspaper: "There is no leadership bid. We have a first-class Prime Minister and long may he continue."
Doctors told Mrs May she had the condition, which means her body does not produce insulin, in November but initially they thought she had Type 2 diabetes.
'It doesn't and will not affect my ability to do my work. I'm a little more careful about what I eat and there's obviously the injections, but this is something millions of people have . . . I'm OK with needles, fortunately," she told the Mail on Sunday.
"There's a great quote from Steve Redgrave who was diagnosed with diabetes before he won his last Olympic gold medal. He said diabetes must learn to live with me rather than me live with diabetes. That's the attitude."