Clive Lewis (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Clive Lewis
MP
Official portrait of Clive Lewis crop 2.jpg
Shadow Minister for the Treasury
Assumed office
12 January 2018
Serving with Lyn Brown
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded by Anneliese Dodds
Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
In office
6 October 2016 – 8 February 2017
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Shadowing Greg Clark
Preceded by Jon Trickett (Business, Innovation and Skills)
Barry Gardiner (Energy and Climate Change)
Succeeded by Rebecca Long-Bailey
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
In office
27 June 2016 – 6 October 2016
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Shadowing Michael Fallon
Preceded by Emily Thornberry
Succeeded by Nia Griffith
Member of Parliament
for Norwich South
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded by Simon Wright
Majority 15,946 (30.4%)
Personal details
Born Clive Anthony Lewis
(1971-09-11) 11 September 1971 (age 46)
London, England
Political party Labour
Alma mater University of Bradford
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army (Territorial Army)
Years of service 2006–09
Unit 7th Rifles

Clive Anthony Lewis[1] (born 11 September 1971) is a British Labour politician who has been the member of parliament (MP) for Norwich South since winning the seat at the 2015 general election[2]

He studied at the University of Bradford before being elected to various student union roles and then serving as vice-president of the National Union of Students. Lewis then worked as a TV reporter for BBC News, becoming BBC Look East's chief political correspondent. He was also one of the Labour government's National Black Role Models. In 2006, he passed out of Sandhurst as an infantry officer with the Territorial Army, and he served a three-month tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2009.

Lewis often broke the party line on issues including nuclear weapons, tuition fees and immigration. Describing himself as a "proud socialist", he was also appointed as the Chair of the Humanist APPG. During the 2015 Labour leadership election, he was one of 36 MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn, and has remained a strong supporter.

Appointed to Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Defence in June 2016,[3] Lewis was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in the October 2016 reshuffle. He left the Shadow Cabinet on 8 February 2017 in protest over the Labour Party's decision to whip its MPs into voting to trigger Article 50.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in London, Lewis grew up on a council estate in Northampton, the son of a single father. He was the first member of his family to attend university, reading economics at the University of Bradford before being elected student union president, and eventually vice-president of the National Union of Students.[5] In November 1995, he was a signatory to a letter that argued for the abolition of student loans, saying "Any loans system will be unfair".[6]

Lewis was suspended as vice-president in 1996 by then-president Jim Murphy for attending a debate on free education organised by the Campaign for Free Education (CFE).[7] Murphy's actions were condemned in an early day motion authored by Ken Livingstone which received the backing of 13 MPs.[8] Running on a campaign of a return to full grants and free education, Lewis ran as the CFE candidate for president of the National Union of Students in 1996. He lost the election to Douglas Trainer, the Labour Students candidate by 586 to 458 votes.[9]

Professional career[edit]

Lewis' first job was at the BBC, as a security guard at BBC World News in London. After completing a post-graduate diploma in journalism, he worked on local newspapers in Northampton and Milton Keynes before being accepted into the BBC's News Trainee Scheme. He went on to work as a broadcast journalist in Nottingham, Norwich, and Coventry. He then became a senior broadcast journalist and the main reporter on the BBC's Politics Show East.[10][11] In 2017 Lewis admitted to biased reporting whilst working for the BBC. At a Momentum rally he stated: "I was able to use bias in my reports by giving less time to one than the other. I reported on both but the angle and words and the language I used — I know the pictures I used — I was able to project my own particular political positions on things in a very subtle way."[12]

Lewis joined the Territorial Army, passing out of Sandhurst Military Academy in 2006 as an infantry officer with 7 RIFLES. In 2009, he served a three-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.[13] Shortly after returning from his tour of duty, he faced depression, saying "I just felt like I was being crushed by it all." However, he recovered after receiving counselling from the Ministry of Defence.[14]

He is an associate governor of Thorpe St Andrew School and was one of the previous Labour Government's National Black Role Models, working with young people across Britain.[5]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Lewis was selected as the Labour Party's prospective parliamentary candidate for Norwich South at the party's hustings in November 2011, defeating challengers including Blur drummer Dave Rowntree. Norwich South had been won by Liberal Democrat Simon Wright in the 2010 general election by a margin of just over 300 votes, defeating former Home Secretary and Education Secretary Charles Clarke.[15]

In April 2015, Lewis commented in an interview for the New Statesman (in jest), in response to a question on whether he was taking his upcoming victory for granted, he would only lose if he was "caught with [his] pants down behind a goat with Ed Miliband at the other end". He subsequently apologised for the remark, saying he was "sincerely sorry" if anyone had been offended by the comment.[16]

On 7 May 2015, Lewis was elected MP for Norwich South, winning 19,033 votes, 39.3% of the total vote, giving him a 15.8% majority of 7,654.[2] Lewis, in his victory speech, declared New Labour to be "dead and buried" and promised to stand up for Norwich's most vulnerable against an "onslaught of cuts" by the Conservative Party.[17] In keeping with these views, Lewis is a member of the Compass Management Committee.[18] The left wing pressure group was established because it was felt that 'New Labour was failing to make the most of a historic opportunity to fundamentally transform the UK into a much more equal, democratic and sustainable society'.[19]

Lewis was one of 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election of 2015.[20] Corbyn credited Lewis with getting his nominations "off the ground".[21] Following Corbyn's election as leader on 12 September 2015, Lewis said: "There is going to be a big realisation that the party needs to pull together, there were people in the room who weren't happy, some people are in shock, some are upset but I know that Jeremy will be magnanimous, inclusive and conciliatory."[22] Lewis has been described as an "ally" of Corbyn, and one of his "early backers".[23]

In April 2017, Lewis was one of 13 MPs to vote against triggering the 2017 General Election.[24] He was re-elected with a majority of 30.4 per cent.

Views and campaigns[edit]

As a candidate, Lewis often broke from the party line on issues such as nuclear weapons,[25] tuition fees and immigration.[26] Locally, Lewis supported the campaign to prevent Hewett School, a comprehensive school in Norwich, from being turned into an academy.[27] He describes himself as a "proud socialist"[citation needed] and is a member of three trade unions (Unite, GMB and the National Union of Journalists).[28][unreliable source?]

In June 2015, Lewis was elected Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group, a group which represents humanists in Parliament;[29] he held this position until September 2017, when he became the group's Vice Chair.[30] On how his views influence his politics, he has said that "Central to being a humanist, which I am, is the core understanding that doubt and criticism are essential attributes in the quest for knowledge."[31] In July 2015, he became a patron of the Anti Academies Alliance.[32]

Lewis has criticised British involvement in Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen. He said: "It’s sickening to think of British-built weapons being used against civilians and the government has an absolute responsibility to do everything in its power to stop that from happening. But as ministers turn a blind eye to the conflict in Yemen, evidence that humanitarian law has been violated is becoming harder to ignore by the day."[33]

Shadow Cabinet[edit]

Lewis giving his Shadow Secretary of State for Defence speech at the 2016 Labour Party Conference

It was suggested that Lewis could serve as either Shadow Secretary of State for Defence or as Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in a Jeremy Corbyn-led shadow cabinet.[21][34][35] It has also been suggested that Lewis could succeed Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party, although Lewis has said of the suggestion: "Personally, I think it's the political kiss of death".[36] However, following the result of the leadership election, when asked about the possibility of his being in the shadow cabinet, Lewis said: "I don’t want to do that at this moment – I think we need the ability and experience and he [Corbyn] has to reach out, it must be from all parts of the party".[37]

After wide speculation on the position that Lewis could hold, on 18 September 2015, Lewis was appointed to the Labour frontbench as a shadow minister in the Energy and Climate Change team.[38]

Following a large number of resignations from Corbyn's shadow cabinet after the 2016 EU referendum, Lewis was appointed as Shadow Secretary of State for Defence.[39] In September 2016, at the Labour party 2016 Conference when Lewis was preparing to give his first speech as Shadow Defence Secretary, a section announcing that he "would not seek to change" Labour's current policy on nuclear weapons was changed by Corbyn's communications advisor Seumas Milne. Lewis was informed of the change by a post-it note.[40][41] A month later, Corbyn removed Lewis from the defence brief, replacing him with his fellow nuclear abolitionist Nia Griffith MP, Lewis being re-appointed as Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The move was viewed as a tactical demotion, though still a helpful career progression for Lewis.[42]

On 8 February 2017, Lewis left the Shadow Cabinet, citing the Labour Party's decision to whip its MPs into voting to trigger Article 50 to start Brexit negotiations.[4]

Reappointment to the Shadow Cabinet[edit]

On 12 January 2018, Lewis was reappointed to Labour's Shadow Cabinet as a shadow Treasury minister.[43][44]

Controversies[edit]

2017 Labour party conference[edit]

In October 2017 video footage, taken at a Labour party conference fringe event, emerged in which Lewis told the actor Sam Swann to “get on your knees bitch”. Lewis's choice of language attracted condemnation across the political divide. Labour colleague, Stella Creasy, for example said: “It’s not OK. Even if it’s meant as a joke, reinforces menace that men have the physical power to force compliance.” Commenting later, Swann explained 'it is clearly jovial and nothing vicious ... I think Clive Lewis is an absolute legend'

Lewis subsequently tweeted an apology in which he described his behaviour as 'offensive and unacceptable'.[45]

Sexual assault allegation[edit]

Clive Lewis was accused by a 39-year-old woman of groping her at Momentum's "World Transformed" event.[46] In response to the accusation, Lewis said he was "pretty taken aback" by the accusation and "completely" and "categorically" denied the claim.[47] On 12 December 2017, he was cleared by Labour's National Executive Committee sexual harassment panel.[48]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Election results for the General election 2015 in Norwich South". Norwich City Council. 
  2. ^ a b "Norwich South Parliamentary constituency". BBC. Archived from the original on 8 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "Jeremy Corbyn unveils new top team after resignations". BBC News. 27 June 2016. Archived from the original on 26 June 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Heather Stewart; Anushka Asthana (8 February 2017). "Clive Lewis quits shadow cabinet over Brexit bill". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 8 February 2017. Retrieved 8 February 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "About Clive". Clive Lewis, Labour's Candidate for Norwich South. Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. 
  6. ^ "LETTER: Student loans are uncivilised". The Independent. 28 November 1995. Archived from the original on 4 November 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  7. ^ James, Luke; Landin, Conrad (8 May 2015). "Election 2015: House Newbies, Sound Socialists". Morning Star. Archived from the original on 4 November 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  8. ^ "MR JIM MURPHY AND THE NATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS". Parliament. Archived from the original on 4 November 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  9. ^ "NUS votes for new era". Times Higher Education. 29 March 1996. Archived from the original on 4 November 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  10. ^ "Clive Lewis". labour.org.uk. Archived from the original on 11 May 2015. 
  11. ^ "Politics Show East". BBC News. 14 September 2005. Archived from the original on 5 March 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  12. ^ "Clive Lewis 'admits broadcasting biased news reports' – Express Digest". expressdigest.com. 
  13. ^ Lewis, Clive. "Why the Military?". Clive Lewis. Archived from the original on 9 January 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2015. 
  14. ^ "BBC journalist battles Afghanistan depression". BBC News. 9 February 2011. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2015. 
  15. ^ Dan Grimmer (19 November 2011). "TV reporter picked as Labour's candidate for Norwich South". Norwich Evening News. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. 
  16. ^ "Norwich South Labour candidate sorry for Ed Miliband goat joke". BBC News. 17 April 2015. Archived from the original on 20 April 2015. 
  17. ^ Kim Briscoe (9 May 2015). "Norwich's newest MP Clive Lewis vows to speak out for the city as he declares 'New Labour is dead and buried and it needs to stay that way'". Eastern Daily Press. Norwich. Archived from the original on 10 May 2015. 
  18. ^ "Compass Management Committee 16/18". Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017. 
  19. ^ "Our Story". Archived from the original on 29 September 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017. 
  20. ^ Bright, Sam (15 June 2015). "Who nominated who for the 2015 Labour leadership election?". New Statesman. London. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2016. 
  21. ^ a b "Who's who in Team Corbyn". New Statesman. London. 27 August 2015. Archived from the original on 11 September 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  22. ^ Pickard, Jim (13 September 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn begins task of appointing UK shadow cabinet". Financial Times. London. Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  23. ^ Watson, Iain (13 September 2015). "Who are Jeremy Corbyn's main allies in the Labour Party?". BBC News. Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  24. ^ "The 13 MPs who opposed snap general election". BBC News. 20 April 2017. Archived from the original on 20 April 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017. 
  25. ^ Clive Lewis (18 January 2013). "Why Labour should make the case against Trident renewal". New Statesman. London. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. 
  26. ^ Dan Falvey (1 May 2015). "Interview: Clive Lewis". Concrete. Norwich: University of East Anglia. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. 
  27. ^ Dan Grimmer (20 April 2015). "Decision on Norwich's Hewett School should be local, says shadow chancellor Ed Balls". Eastern Daily Press. Norwich. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. 
  28. ^ Tim Shipman (13 November 2013). "Labour candidate Clive Lewis urges unions to use Press law to silence critical newspapers". Daily Mail. London. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. 
  29. ^ "Clive Lewis elected Chair of All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group". British Humanist Association. 15 June 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  30. ^ "Crispin Blunt and Joan Bakewell elected as Chair and Co-Chair of humanists in Parliament". Humanists UK. 13 September 2017. Archived from the original on 14 September 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017. 
  31. ^ Lewis, Clive (18 August 2015). "Why I was right to criticise Gordon Brown's economic credibility". New Statesman. London. Archived from the original on 7 October 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016. 
  32. ^ "Clive Lewis MP announced as new patron of the Anti-Academies Alliance" (Press release). Anti Academies Alliance. 3 July 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  33. ^ Ewen MacAskill; Paul Torpey (16 September 2016). "One in three Saudi air raids on Yemen hit civilian sites, data shows". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 19 September 2016. 
  34. ^ Boffey, Daniel (15 August 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn's world: his friends, supporters, mentors and influences". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  35. ^ Ridge, Sophy (12 September 2015). "Five Biggest Corbyn Rumours in Westminster". Sky News. Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  36. ^ Eaton, George (19 August 2015). "Can Jeremy Corbyn and Labour MPs learn to get along?". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 19 September 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  37. ^ Dathan, Matt (12 September 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn: New Labour leader aiming to appoint cabinet as early as 14 September". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  38. ^ "Clive Lewis appointed to Labour frontbench". ITV News. 18 September 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  39. ^ "Shadow Cabinet Appointments" (Press release). The Labour Party. 2 June 2016. Archived from the original on 2 July 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2016. 
  40. ^ Bush, Stephen (26 September 2016). "Why Clive Lewis was furious when a Trident pledge went missing from his speech". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 27 September 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  41. ^ Schofield, Kevin (26 September 2016). "Clive Lewis Trident speech changed by Seumas Milne on conference autocue". Politics Home. Archived from the original on 27 September 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  42. ^ Stephen Bush; Helen Lewis; Julia Rampen (7 October 2016). "Jeremy Corbyn reshuffles the shadow cabinet". New Statesman. London. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 14 October 2016. 
  43. ^ Corbyn reappoints Clive Lewis to Labour front bench. Archived 13 January 2018 at the Wayback Machine. BBC NEWS. Published 12 January 2018. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  44. ^ Clive Lewis returns to frontbench in Labour reshuffle. Archived 12 January 2018 at the Wayback Machine. The Guardian. Author – Heather Stewart. Published 12 January 2018. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  45. ^ "Labour MP Clive Lewis apologises for 'get on your knees' comment". The Guardian. 20 October 2017. Archived from the original on 4 November 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017. 
  46. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 November 2017. Retrieved 28 December 2017. 
  47. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 November 2017. Retrieved 4 November 2017. 
  48. ^ Labour clears MP Clive Lewis of sexual harassment Archived 12 December 2017 at the Wayback Machine.. BBC NEWS. Published 12 December 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2018.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Simon Wright
Member of Parliament
for Norwich South

2015–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Emily Thornberry
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
2016
Succeeded by
Nia Griffith
Preceded by
Jon Trickett
as Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
2016–2017
Succeeded by
Rebecca Long-Bailey
Preceded by
Barry Gardiner
as Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change