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Clive Lewis: ‘PM has broken her promises on social mobility’

PUBLISHED: 18:12 04 December 2017 | UPDATED: 18:12 04 December 2017

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis raised Mr Gibbs' case in the House of Commons on Thursday in a debate about RBS. 
Photo: Matt Crossick/ EMPICS Entertainment.

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis raised Mr Gibbs' case in the House of Commons on Thursday in a debate about RBS. Photo: Matt Crossick/ EMPICS Entertainment.

Matt Crossick/Empics Entertainment

MP Clive Lewis has slammed the prime minister for breaking her “promises” over improving social mobility.

The Norwich South MP hit out after the entire board of the Social Mobility Commission dramatically quit in protest at the lack of progress towards a “fairer Britain”.

In his resignation letter chairman and former Labour cabinet minister Alan Milburn said he believed the government’s preoccupation with Brexit meant it was not focussing on inequality. He added: “I have little hope of the current Government making the progress I believe is necessary to bring about a fairer Britain.”

The resignations – which include former South West Norfolk MP Gillian Shephard – are a huge blow for Theresa May who promised on the steps of Downing Street when she became PM to tackle the “burning injustices” that hold back poorer people.

Last week a report by the commission found Norwich was the 31st worst area in the country in terms of social mobility prospects for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Five other areas in Norfolk also made the top 65 with Breckland the highest place in our region at 25.

Mr Lewis said: “Since the Tories took power things have got worse for people in Norwich regarding social mobility. The people who were involved in the commission tried to form a consensus on the issue – they were cross-party and from the centre of politics – so for them to come out and walk with such a scathing reprimand to the government is a massive blow to Theresa May.

“Theresa May’s government has comprehensively and fundamentally failed to do what it said it would. It has been negligent. She has broken her promises.

“This government is clinging on by its finger nails and so many important things are being ignored.”

In her letter of resignation, Lady Shephard said she believed that “this moment of change” at the commission was the right time for her to leave.

“I have the utmost respect and admiration for what Alan has achieved in his committed work for the commission,” she said. “I believe that together we have been able to highlight policy areas of key importance to successive governments and to the future of our country.”

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