Commons speaker John Bercow MP returned to his birthplace to open the first London office of a diabetes charity.

Accompanied by his wife Sally, The Speaker of the House of Commons cut the ribbon of the first London office of diabetes charity Silver Star, in Whitchurch Lane in Edgware.

Founded by Leicestershire MP Keith Vaz, who himself suffers from diabetes, Silver Star provides free diabetes tests to members of the public, both at its offices and in its mobile diabetes units – one of which frequently visits Edgware’s Broadwalk shopping centre.

Mr Bercow expressed his delight at returning to Edgware, especially as it was for such a good cause.

He said: “I have special empathy for those who are fighting diabetes, which often goes unrecognised and unreported. 

“The fact Silver Star now has its first headquarters in London is of huge importance. I hope Keith’s work will take the charity from strength to strength.

“The charity has already tested 30,000 people. Its focus is on getting out and about through its mobile units. It has already changed lives.”

There are 450,000 people in London with diabetes, yet one in four sufferers do not know they have the disease.

People of South Asian origin are six times more likely to be sufferers and their large populations in Edgware mean diabetes is a major problem.

As well as being presented with flowers and wooden elephants from representatives of the charity, Mr Bercow took the five-minute diabetes test in the mobile unit.

He said: “I’ve heard the chances of the test being accurate have been spoiled by the very good Indian meal I’ve had. But the test results show I’m well within the normal range.

“If people go undiagnosed and untreated there is a danger their lifespan will be shortened. Preventing diabetes is not a party political issue; it is a case of doing the right thing.”

Other guests at the opening included MP for Harrow East Bob Blackman, Harrow Borough Council’s Chief Executve Michael Lockwood, the leader of Harrow Council Thaya Idaikkadar and the charity’s mascot Dorothy the Diabetes Duck.

Councillor Lockwood said Harrow Council would be working very closely with Silver Star, especially since its new responsibility for public health meant the council would have an important role to play in raising awareness and preventing diabetes. 

Mr Blackman said: “This is an issue I feel strongly about and I am very glad the charity has its first office in my constituency. 

"It’s a great site in the middle of the shopping street with lots of short term parking – people can do their shopping, get the test done and get their result in record time.”

In 2010, the NHS spent almost £14billion on treating diabetes and its related complications, more than ten per cent of its annual budget.

The charity’s patron Mr Vaz said how thrilled he and those who work for the small charity were the Speaker of the House of Commons had opened the diabetes centre.

He added: “I urge local residents to come to the new centre to ‘take the test’ and be checked for diabetes to avoid the potentially fatal complications.”