Jeremy Corbyn hits back at claims he is too old to lead Labour into next election

Leader's spokesman said there is 'no sign whatever that his age is an impediment'

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Wednesday 17 January 2018 15:24
The head of the Opposition was first appointed in September 2015
The head of the Opposition was first appointed in September 2015

Jeremy Corbyn’s office has hit back at warnings from frontbench Labour figures that the party leader could be too old to fight the next election.

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said there is “no sign whatever that his age is an impediment” and guaranteed he would fight the campaign in 2022.

It comes after The Independent reported comments from frontbenchers warning of the toll of leadership and pointing out that if Mr Corbyn wins he would have to commit to being in Government until aged almost 80.

Speaking after Prime Minister’s Questions, the spokesman said: “Jeremy is extremely energetic, works extremely long hours and since he’s been doing this job has performed at an extremely effective and high level.”

He added: “I’ve been working since the months after he was elected – I’ve seen that at close quarters.

“He is extremely vigorous, he has become more effective as a leader since he was first elected. I see no sign whatever that his age is an impediment to continuing to be leader.”

Jeremy Corbyn in 2017: A look at the Labour leader's spirited year

The spokesman restated Mr Corbyn’s insistence that he will fight the next election adding that it is “nonsense” that the matter has been brought into question.

Senior party figures raised concerns that if he wins in 2022 he would be the oldest prime minister ever to assume office for the first time, but would be telling voters he will lead the country for a further five years.

One shadow cabinet source said: “A leader standing at a general election has to commit to doing a full five years.

Jeremy is in good shape, but by May 2027 he will be nearly 78

Shadow cabinet member

“Jeremy is in good shape, but by May 2027 he will be nearly 78.”

Another senior frontbencher told The Independent: “Jeremy has a lot of energy now. But 2022 is a long time away, let alone 2027.”

Before last year’s election, in which Mr Corbyn exceeded all expectations by demolishing a large Tory poll lead, the leader himself indicated that 68 – his current age – was too old to still be working, when asked about the rising state pension age.

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