EXCL Clive Lewis: Tories could be in power for 20 years

Posted On: 
26th September 2016

A key ally of Jeremy Corbyn has warned that the Conservatives could be in power for the next 20 years.

Clive Lewis says the Tories could be in power for 20 years
PA Images

Shadow Defence Secretary Clive Lewis said that under the first past the post voting system, Labour will struggle to form a government without the backing of other left-leaning parties.

He won support for his so-called "progressive alliance" plan from former Labour leader Ed Miliband.

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At a conference fringe event hosted by Open Labour, Mr Lewis said: "It's imperative that we begin to put aside our differences to find out that which unites us, which we have in common - and there is a lot. Because the alternative is a world which in many ways, sometimes it feels like it's going to hell in a handcart.

"I sometimes really think that time is running out for us to get our act together and unless we can get consent from those political parties to work together and actually begin to make a difference then I'm afraid to say the next 10 to 20 years could be dominated not just by the Conservative party, but I feel we could see a breakthrough under the first-past-the-post system of a post-Brexit Ukip party in parts of this country.

"If they get it in a first-past-the-post system, we know how difficult it will be to get rid of them. That means a block of authoritarian right politicians egging on an already right-wing Conservative government. It doesn't bear thinking about."

Mr Miliband - whose hopes of becoming Prime Minister were scuppered by the notion he would have been propped up by the SNP - suggested it was a "20th century notion" for Labour to oppose working with others.

"The notion that you can work with other parties, I think is a good thing, not a bad thing," he said.

"It's incredibly hard to do for reasons we totally understand and it's not about saying we're giving up on a Labour majority. But it is about saying that, if you're thinking about 21st century politics... the notion that only one party has the answer feels to me like quite a 20th century notion."