Jeremy Corbyn calls for inquiry into civil service as he hits back at health claims

Posted On: 
30th June 2019

Jeremy Corbyn has hit back at claims he isn’t healthy enough to become Prime Minister and called for an investigation to find the civil servants who made them.

Allies of Jeremy Corbyn have said he is fit and healthy and regularly cycles
Credit: 
PA

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The Labour leader said The Times' story was a “a farrago of nonsense” after suggestions he was not up to the job “physically or mentally”.

He said in response: "There must be an investigation into which senior civil servants are spreading fictitious information to the press and in the process compromising the integrity of the civil service.”

The story quoted two senior civil servants, saying there was a “real worry” in Whitehall that Mr Corbyn was being “propped up by those around him”.

One official was quoted as saying: “There’s growing concern that he’s too frail and is losing his memory. He’s not in charge of his own party.”

But allies were quick to brief against the reports, saying the 70-year-old is in good health and “leads an active life, running and cycling regularly”.

And a Labour spokesman said rumours in Westminster he had suffered a “mini stroke” in March this year were “categorically untrue”, saying that he merely required treatment for “muscle weakness” in his eye.

They called the claims “a transparent attempt to undermine Labour's efforts to redistribute wealth and power from the few to the many”.

Mr Corbyn told ITV they were “tittle-tattle”, and vowed to find out where they came from.

'FALSE, FABRICATED AND ABSURD'

He said: "The idea that civil servants should be briefing a newspaper against an elected politician, against a prospective government, is something that should be very concerning to a lot of people."

Mr Corbyn added: "The civil service has to be independent. It has to be non-political and has to be non-judgmental of the politicians they have a duty to serve.

"I would make that very clear if we were elected to government. We have a very clear framework of things we want to do in this country on housing, education, health and the environment and so many things.

"We would explain those to our colleagues in the Civil Service and expect them to carry out those policies. That is the way British democracy must work."

In a statement, the Labour Party said: "These Times stories are a series of false, fabricated and absurd allegations hiding behind anonymous sources with a transparently political agenda.

"For any senior civil servant to falsely claim the leader of the opposition is ill, frail or forgetful, is a disgrace and a clear political intervention. In a democracy, the people decide who is prime minister.

"The claim that Jeremy Corbyn is ill, frail or forgetful is entirely false, and clearly part of a deliberate misinformation campaign."