Clive Lewis Trident speech changed by Seumas Milne on conference autocue

Posted On: 
26th September 2016

Clive Lewis' speech pledging not to change Labour's pro-Trident policy was altered by spin doctor Seumas Milne on the autocue as he waited to deliver it, PoliticsHome has learned.

Clive Lewis had his speech changed on the autocue by Seumas Milne (right)
PA Images

In a major humiliation, the Shadow Defence Secretary was only notified by post-it note as he sat on the stage waiting to walk to the podium.

He is said to have punched a wall in anger when he came off stage.

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A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said he had agreed the changes before they were made by Mr Milne.

Mr Lewis had been due to say he "would not seek to change" his party's policy of backing renewal of the UK's Trident submarines.

But that was taken out, meaning he only said it was "clear that our party has a policy for Trident renewal".

A senior Labour source said: "Clive punched a wall when he came off the stage because Seumas altered his speech on the autocue.

"He was fuming as he sent a post-it note on stage as he was sat there ready to speak and didn't know what the exact change was. Apparently Clive had agreed it with Jeremy but Seumas changed it."

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: "All speeches are put together in conjunction with the leader's office. It was confirmed to Clive that the agreed speech had been amended on the autocue."

Mr Lewis is co-chairing a review of Labour'd defence policy with Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry.

Both of them abstained when the Commons voted in July to go ahead with Trident renewal.

Lifelong anti-nuclear campaigner Mr Corbyn voted against.