It's the rousing, tub-thumping, booming soapbox speech on the NHS we've been waiting for during the general election campaign, and it's come from a man whose closest link to politics is playing Tony Blair on screen.

Welsh actor Michael Sheen delivered a stirring defence of the NHS during a St David's Day march in Tredegar, South Wales, on Sunday.

He spoke out against coalition cuts to the health service but also those implemented by previous Labour administrations, as he claimed the legacy of Welsh MP Aneurin Bevan - the architect of the NHS - was under threat.

There is never an excuse to not speak up for what you think is right. You must stand up for what you believe, but first of all by God believe in something. Because there are plenty out there who believe in grabbing as much as they can for themselves, constantly sniffing around for markets to exploit, for weakness to expose. They won't say it of course, they're too smart for that. No one says they want to get rid of the NHS, everyone praises it across all parties, it's about as powerful a symbol of goodness as we have, so it would be too dangerous not to. But for decades now there has nevertheless been a systemic undermining of its core values. This is beyond party politics, the Labour government arguably did as much damage to the NHS as any Tory or coalition. This is about who we want to be as a nation and what we believe is worth fighting for. Too many people have given too much and fought too hard for us to give away what they achieved and to be left with so very little.

On Bevan, he said:

He had cast-iron integrity and a raging passion. This was a man who had no fear in standing up for what he believed in, and he made no bones about how he felt. This is a man who publicly stated: 'No amount of cajolery, no attempt at ethical or social seduction can eradicate from my heart a deep, burning hatred for the Tory Party.'

Watch the speech below:

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