Labour leadership contender says party should be prepared to stand down in some seats

PUBLISHED: 09:44 07 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:51 07 January 2020

Jeremy Corbyn, Caroline Lucas, Jo Swinson, Nicola Sturgeon, Liz Saville-Roberts, and Boris Johnson. Photograph: TNE/PA.

Jeremy Corbyn, Caroline Lucas, Jo Swinson, Nicola Sturgeon, Liz Saville-Roberts, and Boris Johnson. Photograph: TNE/PA.

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Labour leadership contender Clive Lewis has said that local parties should be given the right to stand the party down in certain seats to work with other progressive parties.

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Some Remain campaigners have claimed the only way to achieve a change in politics is through political reform - something Lewis is advocating in his leadership pitch.

Lewis said Labour needs to work on building coalitions to fight the Tories, working together to tackle racism, climate change and democratic reform.

Speaking to the Guardian, he said: "If the rules of the system are rigged, don't fight by them.

He said: "So let's talk about having a constitutional convention, let's talk about PR [proportional representation], let's talk about reform of the Lords. Let's talk about devolving, and moving power-structures out of London.

"I think now, being on this political precipice as we are after that result, the worst since 1935 - now is the time for telling the truth."

During the general election Labour was criticised for not standing down candidates in some seats where the Lib Dems were the strongest contender to the Tories.

A "Unite to Remain" pact meant that Plaid Cymru, Lib Dems and Greens worked together in a handful of seats, but this was not enough to prevent Tory wins, as they continued to fight against a Labour Party which was contesting all seats.

While Lewis' comments have been welcomed by some advocating a progressive pact some members claimed that the Norwich South MP was "throwing in the towel" rather than focusing on a Labour win.

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