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EXCL Clive Lewis: Jeremy Corbyn would be PM if he had worked with other parties

Liz Bates

2 min read

Jeremy Corbyn would be Prime Minister if he had listened to calls for a "progressive alliance" between Labour and other parties, a former shadow minister has said. 


In an interview with the House magazine, Clive Lewis blamed Labour’s general election defeat on its refusal to make deals with its rivals to unseat Tory MPs.

Mr Corbyn rejected the Norwich South MP's calls to agree pacts with the likes of the Greens and SNP during the election campaign.

But Mr Lewis said the result of the election - which saw the Conservatives lose their Commons majority and be forced to strike a deal with the DUP to stay in power - proved he had been right.

He said: "If there had been a progressive alliance on the lines myself and others were arguing for, Corbyn would probably be PM by now - we wouldn’t have these Tories heading off a cliff-edge on Brexit…

"The establishment is very powerful and if you’re going to have a genuinely game-changing effect on politics and power, as opposed to just coming into power for one term or less than one term and then being turfed out, you’re going to have to make real changes to our society, really take on the establishment of this country and the privilege and power bases. You’re going to need a bigger boat."

Elsewhere in the interview, Mr Lewis said the next Labour leader should be a woman from an ethnic minority background.

"The ideal candidate for me would be a black, working-class woman," he said. "A BAME working-class woman who is the next leader of this party, that would be brilliant. The issue again is, you know, it’s important what the politics of the person are, it really is."

He also does not rule out a return to frontbench politics.

Mr Lewis said: “A lot of people say ‘oh you just want to come back on the frontbench, you’d jump on if Jeremy asked you’… Well, let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.”

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Read the most recent article written by Liz Bates - Jeremy Corbyn admits he would rather see a Brexit deal than a second referendum

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