Labour demand inquiry into 'manifestly untrue' story about Corbyn's health

30 June 2019, 13:59 | Updated: 30 June 2019, 14:33

Labour is demanding an independent inquiry after "manifestly untrue" claims were made about Jeremy Corbyn's health.

It follows a story in The Times newspaper citing anonymous civil service sources, which alleged that the 70-year-old opposition leader was "too frail" to become prime minister.

The report said Mr Corbyn was being "propped up" by his advisers, and expressed concern at the prospect of him getting into Downing Street.

In response, Mr Corbyn dismissed the claims as a "farrago of nonsense" and angrily questioned the neutrality of the civil servants behind the briefing.

Shadow cabinet office minister Jon Trickett condemned the report as a "totally unwarranted" political intervention with "disturbing implications for our democratic system".

He has written to Whitehall's top mandarin Sir Mark Sedwill requesting a meeting to discuss the "credible account" in the newspaper of an "apparent breach of civil service neutrality".

Mr Trickett said: "The premise of these conversations is the allegation that Mr Corbyn's health is poor. This is manifestly untrue.

"Discussion of these matters, based on false assumptions, should not be taking place.

"Worse, it is without precedent in my experience that any high-level discussion about senior politicians, let alone the leader of the opposition, should be shared with a newspaper."

The Times quoted two "senior civil servants" - with one suggesting there are concerns in Whitehall that Mr Corbyn was "losing his memory".

Another was claimed to have said the MP was "not functioning on all cylinders" and was "too ill to carry on as leader of the Labour Party, let alone become prime minister".

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