Jeremy Corbyn to meet with UK's top civil servant amid call for probe into 'frail' jibes

Posted On: 
2nd July 2019

Jeremy Corbyn is to meet with the UK's top mandarin amid calls for a probe into comments about his health by civil servants.

Jeremy Corbyn is angry at claims about his health.
PA Images

The Labour leader reacted angrily to reports in The Times that top Whitehall officials believe he is too "frail" to be Prime Minister.

Labour has demanded an independent inquiry into who made the remarks, which they said breached the rules on civil service neutrality.

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Sir Mark Sedwill, the Cabinet Secretary, wrote to Mr Corbyn expressig his regret at the remarks and offering to meet with him to discuss the matter.

In his reply, the Labour boss said: "Thank you for your letter of 1 July 2019, your offer to meet and your assurances that you are concerned by the articles that appeared in The Times on Saturday.

"As Jon Trickett, the Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, laid out in his letter at the weekend, such discussions, based on false assumptions, should not be taking place, nor shared with a newspaper.

"This matter has inevitably undermined confidence in the principle of civil service neutrality, which is integral to the healthy functioning of our democracy."

He added: "For there to be trust in any investigation, there need to be assurances on its scope and independence.

"In the light of this, I would urge you to ensure that there is a speedy and thorough independent investigation, rather than one carried out by the Cabinet Office."

On Monday, the Prime Minister's official spokesperson said: "Impartiality is one of the fundamental values of the civil service and underpins its ability to effectively serve the Government of the day.

"It would clearly be inappropriate and unacceptable for comments of this sort to have been made or briefed to the press."