Clive Lewis calls for 'referendum on future of the Royal Family' in bid to be Labour leader
Clive Lewis has suggested there should be a “referendum on the future of the Royal Family” as part of his bid to be Labour leader.
The outsider in the race to replace Jeremy Corbyn said “a lot of people would like to see the monarchy scaled down” when discussing the decision by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to step back from their duties.
The Norwich MP stopped short of calling for British royalty to be abolished, but said he wants people to be “citizens rather than subjects”.
Speaking in Brixton about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle he said he “completely respects” their decision, but added: “I think its extremely unfortunate, and a sign of the media we have.
“I know its not the only reason but if you look at the intrusion on their lives. The racism that Meghan Markle has experienced in the British media.
“I can understand given what’s happened, given the difficulties, it can’t be easy being a royal, I know you can be a millionaire but being under public scrutiny all the time.”
Mr Lewis said he thought most people “will think they are two people in love” and back their plan to be financially independent.
He added: “They are maybe setting out a model for how the monarchy could be in the future and that’s something I find quite interesting.”
Asked to expand on that the shadow treasury minister said: “I think a lot of people would like to see the monarchy scaled down.
“There’s been lots of discussion that the monarchy is quite large and there are lots of people being paid by the public purse.
“One of the things I always talk about is democracy, I’m known for liking the odd referendum; a second referendum on Europe, I’m not opposed to a second independence referendum in Scotland.
“So why not have a referendum on the future of the Royal Family?”
Pressed on whether that would be asking the public if they wanted to “abolish” the royals, Mr Lewis replied: “Let’s have more democracy.
“Let the British public decide on the future of the monarchy and what shape it should be.”
He is one of six candidates running for the Labour leadership, but he is currently struggling to get enough nominations to make it onto the ballot.
The favourite Keir Starmer has the support of 63 of his colleagues, while Mr Lewis has just 4, a long way short of threshold of 22 needed to reach the next stage.
But the 48-year-old former journalist said he would be working hard over the weekend ahead to convince those MPs yet to declare to support him, telling an audience at the Black Cultural Archive in south London he was sure “on Monday we will still have a fighting chance”.