‘Sad, lonely, bitter’ – Clive Lewis turns fire on fellow Labour MP after election
Clive Lewis has said Chris Leslie should “have a bit of respect” after the Labour MP said the party’s performance in the general election was “not good enough”.
Mr Lewis, who quit Jeremy Corbyn’s frontbench to vote against the whip on triggering Article 50, described Mr Leslie as “isolated” within the parliamentary Labour party and a “lonely, bitter man”.
He was responding to Mr Leslie’s comments on the Today programme on Saturday, when he said Labour had missed an “open goal” by failing to beat the Conservatives.
“We shouldn't pretend that this is a famous victory. It's good as far as it's gone, but it's not going to be good enough,” Mr Leslie said.
The former shadow chancellor has been a longstanding critic of Mr Corbyn.
Mr Lewis – who had previously been touted as a potential left-wing successor to Mr Corbyn – told Mr Leslie to “get behind the leadership”.
“I think Chris Leslie is a sad, lonely, bitter man,” he told BBC Radio 5Live.
“And if he doesn’t have the ability to be able to acknowledge that this wasn’t the perfect result but nonetheless it was a fantastic result in terms of what it had the potential to be then I feel very sorry for him.
“I think that he’s an isolated individual in the PLP; I don’t think, from what I know, anyone else has joined up to join and add to his voice. I think he will be an isolated character within the party.
“And I think ultimately he should understand that there will be no truck for people like him to carry on being disloyal. What he needs to do is to actually get behind the leadership of this party, it’s earned the right to lead – Jeremy Corbyn and the top team have earned the right to lead – and he should actually have a bit of respect.
“Ultimately, if he doesn’t then he’s going to be in a pretty difficult place.”