Downing Street has condemned reported claims by senior civil servants that Jeremy Corbyn is “too frail” to be prime minister as “inappropriate and unacceptable”.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill would be writing to the Labour leader after the party demanded an inquiry into the alleged breach of Civil Service neutrality.
The Times reported at the weekend that it had been told by two senior civil servants that Mr Corbyn, 70, may have to stand down due to health issues.
The report drew a furious response from Labour, which denounced the comments as a “scurrilous” attempt to undermine the party’s efforts to gain power.
Mr Corbyn said the remarks were “tittle tattle” and warned the Civil Service had a duty to be non-political.
In response, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman 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.
“The Cabinet Secretary will be writing to the leader of the Opposition shortly.”