Rishi Sunak used a visit to his family’s old pharmacy in Southampton on Wednesday to portray himself as the candidate best placed to reform the NHS.
The former chancellor was born in Southampton in 1980 to parents of Punjabi descent.
His father was a general practitioner and his mother owned a pharmacy, where he helped her with the books.
At that pharmacy on Wednesday in a leafy corner of Southampton, Mr Sunak smiled as he posed for selfies and spoke to the staff who now run the old family business.
Though no longer owned by his family, Sunak’s name could still be seen on a parking sign at the back of the building.
Mr Sunak, who has put his family’s immigrant experience at the heart of his pitch to the grassroots of the party, seemed to be enjoying the return to his old stew.
While walking around outside the pharmacy in his hometown, Mr. Sunak received kind regards, a few mocking remarks and a cry of “I love you”.
“It’s nice to be home,” he told spectators before taking a tour of the former family business.
“These were the chemists my mother led.
“This was the family business I grew up in, working right behind us in the pharmacy and the store,” he told PA news agency.
Looking around, he said the building was “much hipper” but still familiar.
“It really made clear who I really am. These are the values I was raised with, strong family, community service, small business,” he said.
“That has shaped me into the person I am today, these are my roots and it is those values that I want to bring to the government.
“I want to create a country where hard work is rewarded, where families are strong and supported and where ambition is celebrated.
“That’s the type of prime minister I want to be.”
Mr Sunak also stopped by to talk to staff at the old GP practice, where his father worked for four decades.
There, he reiterated that he remained the best candidate to reform the NHS, while joked with staff that he was “very pro-pharmacy”.
Outside the operating room, he said: “I grew up in an NHS family, it’s really important to me that we support the NHS.
“That’s why I’ve done something difficult as Chancellor, creating a new way to fund the NHS and social care, because I want to make sure we support our fantastic doctors and nurses with the resources they need.
“But we also need to make sure we get value for money and that we’re willing to reform the NHS, make it as efficient as possible, because that’s how we keep everyone’s taxes down and get the healthcare we need . need.”
He emphasized his plan to address missed appointments in the NHS.
“If people cancel those appointments in advance, we free up a lot of extra care capacity in our hospitals and operating rooms to treat people faster, reduce backlogs, without putting more money into the NHS.”
Before rushing to his next campaign stop, he joked with the operations staff, “I’ve been busy, but a different kind of pressure.”