Clive Lewis: ‘Brexit has unleashed a torrent of racism into British society’

Clive Lewis, MP for Norwich South, is standing to become Labour leader. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Archive/

Clive Lewis, MP for Norwich South, is standing to become Labour leader. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Archive/PA Images - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

In his pitch to become leader, Norwich South MP Clive Lewis has called for an end to "division and bigotry" and said that the first job of anyone who aspires to be PM is to "help our people live together harmoniously".

The pro-Remain MP is one of the first Labour figures to put himself forward officially in the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.

In an opinion piece for the Independent, Lewis included Labour's ineffectiveness at handling accusations of anti-Semitism in his criticisms and argued against aping the right wing when dealing with questions of migration and xenophobia.

"Do we triangulate to the right and attempt to mimic their frames around migration and a distorted view of patriotism, that contributes to the country becoming more xenophobic, isolationist and inward-looking?" he wrote.

"Or do we champion the benefits of internationalism, put forward the economic and cultural case for migration, and build solidarity between our diverse communities through greater social and economic equality."

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Speaking about his own experiences growing up as a black man with mixed heritage, he warned against creating a "gulf" between Labour voters in the north and the Midlands, and BAME voters in the inner cities.

He also called for electoral reform and going beyond "lip service" when it comes to devolution of powers to Scotland and Wales.

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He wrote: "[...] our political system is broken and our democratic institutions are not fit for purpose.

"We need radical change in order to bring about a cultural shift in this country and this has to include changing the electoral system, reforming our election rules, and not just paying lip service to devolution but actively engaging with the needs of people in Scotland and Wales."

He backed the party's Green New Deal as a job creator an as a way of addressing the climate crisis, saying: "This is how we can build a collective vision of what identity means in modern Britain - through collective action."

Although only Lewis and Emily Thornberry have offically declared they are running for leader, several others are considered likely contenders.

To the left of the party, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Ian Lavery have said they are "considering" a bid, while the more centrist Kier Starmer has emerged as a favourite among Labour voters.

Jess Phillips is the only MP without shadow cabinet experience to flirt with the idea of a run, tweeting "watch this space" to the speculation of social media users.

Angela Rayner, previously seen as a possibility, appears now to be leaning towards joining Richard Burgon in a race to become deputy leader.

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