Jeremy Corbyn has dismissed claims that he is too old to be Prime Minister and insisted he is “extremely energetic” in the fight against the Tory government.
The Labour leader’s office hit back at anonymous claims from shadow ministers that 68-year-old Corbyn’s age would be a hindrance with the next election five years away and a possible five-year term ending in 2027.
His spokesman said that he was guaranteed to lead the party into the 2022 general election and rejected the speculation as “nonsense”.
Speaking after Prime Minister’s Question time, the spokesman denied that Corbyn had suffered a “senior moment” during the Commons session, when he appeared to forget to ask one of his allotted six questions.
“It’s nonsense that he had a ‘senior moment’, it’s nonsense on all fronts,” he 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.
“I’ve been working since the months after he was elected – I’ve seen that at close quarters.”
Corbyn covered hundreds of miles in the 2017 general election, his third consecutive year of nationwide campaigning after two leadership elections.
The spokesman, who has been at his side since his first landslide leadership election in 2016, added: “He is extremely vigourous, 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.”
The Independent reported on Tuesday that senior party figures raised concerns that if Corbyn wins in 2022 he would be the oldest prime minister ever to assume office for the first time.
The anonymous sources had pointed out the Labour leader would be telling voters he will lead the country for a further five years, right up to 2027.
One shadow cabinet source told the paper: “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.”
Another senior frontbencher told The Independent: “Jeremy has a lot of energy now. But 2022 is a long time away, let alone 2027.”
But allies of the Labour leader said such ‘gossip’ would only serve to help the Conservatives.
Labour MPs were furious in November, when a Tory whip heckled that he ‘should be in a care home’.
They said the “ageist” jibe had no place in civilised politics.
A Downing Street spokesman, when asked if Theresa May believed any age was ‘too old’ to be PM, replied: “The British public make their choice on who they wish their Prime Minister to be.”