Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
Tom Watson opens up to James O'Brien about his life-saving epiphany
24 January 2020, 18:39
"Jo Cox left two kids. I didn't want to leave my kids" - former Labour deputy leader Tom Watson opened up to James O'Brien about the epiphany that led him to lose 7 stone and save his own life.
Tom Watson lost seven stone between 2017 and 2018 after having an epiphany that he could soon die.
In his new book he writes: "a voice seems to float up from my subconscious, 'I don't want to die, I really don't want to die.' I'm well over 22 stone, the heaviest I'd ever been, perhaps premature death was an inevitability though."
"Morbid thoughts began to swirl round my head, the prospect of leaving my beloved kids fatherless," said the former deputy leader whose children were ten and twelve at the time of the realisation, "I thought I was going to die. I didn't want to die. I wanted to live, I wanted to live more than I'd ever wanted."
He reflected that when Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered that was the "worst moment in politics" and she'd left behind two kids; he didn't want to leave his children behind.
"I knew I had to humiliate myself to get well again," Mr Watson said and in the end he found it a "glorious" experience as it allowed him to reflect on his life.
"I realised that even though I was moderately successful in my chosen career, everything I'd done until that point had been a reaction to things," he observed, listing the various causes and policies he'd protested for and against, and realised he didn't have to do that anymore.
"From now on in I want to live for another 51 years and I want to live a positive and purposeful life and it was like I was just shedding a very heavy overcoat," he said, "I feel moments of joy."