LABOUR chiefs on Sunday demanded a leak inquiry into incendiary claims civil servants believe Jeremy Corbyn is too frail to become PM.
Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett demanded an independent investigation into “manifestly” untrue Whitehall briefings.
It came as the Labour leader’s main trade union backer – Unite chief Len McCluskey – dismissed the reports as “fake news” and launched an astonishing attack on the media.
He said The Times most likely made up the report – published on Saturday – and claimed Mr Corbyn was as “fit as a fiddle”.
But he urged Labour MPs to stop stressing out the 70 year-old on Brexit and a second referendum.
He said: “Stop putting pressure on Jeremy Corbyn.”
In a bizarre rant he told Labour MPs six times “don’t panic” about Labour’s stance on a second referendum – before adding: “Calm down.”
The Times carried claims by two senior civil servants that the Labour leader may have to stand down over health issues. They said there was a “real worry” he wouldn’t be up to the job “physically or mentally”.
Jon Trickett complained that the claims “breached” civil service neutrality.
Writing to Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill he called for an “independent” investigation to “avoid any real or apparent conflicts of interest”.
“I must now formally say to you that it is hard to avoid the conclusion that this has been a totally unwarranted and indeed unconstitutional political intervention with disturbing implications for our democratic system.”
Mark Sedwill ordered a leak inquiry three months ago when details of Theresa May’s decision to allow Huawei a limited role in Britain’s 5G network were reported by the media.
It led to the sacking of then Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.
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Mr Corbyn, who attempted to show his fitness on Sunday by going on a bike ride near his home in North London, is under huge pressure from Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, deputy leader Tom Watson and his Brexit chief Sir Keir Starmer to throw his weight behind staying in the EU.
The Labour leader – who earlier this year admitted an eye condition – has called the claims a “farrago of nonsense” and “tittle tattle.”
Ex-Labour MP Ian Austin said: “It’s not Jeremy Corbyn’s age or health that bother me – I’m much more worried about the culture of racism and extremism which has poisoned the Labour Party and the damage he would do to the country.”
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