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Norwich MP Clive Lewis condemned after making ‘filthy, sexist’ comment at event

PUBLISHED: 15:29 20 October 2017 | UPDATED: 08:51 21 October 2017

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

Norwich MP Clive Lewis has been forced to apologise after a “disgusting, filthy, sexist” outburst at a public event.

The Labour MP for Norwich South was widely condemned by MPs across the political spectrum after telling an audience member at a conference event: “Get on your knees b****.”

When the video emerged online fellow MPs were quick to condemn Mr Lewis. His fellow Norwich MP Chloe Smith said: “These comments show someone not fit to do their job.”

Mr Lewis issued an apology on Twitter: “I apologise unreservedly for the language I used at an event in Brighton last month. It was offensive and unacceptable.”

Mr Lewis was a guest at an event held by Momentum – the left-wing grass roots movement – when he was taking part in a comedy skit from the stage. In the video Mr Lewis can be seen swigging from a can of beer while a rowdy crowd jeers at his comment. His words were directed at actor Sam Swann and afterwards Mr Lewis was told by a woman also on stage: “I thought this was supposed to be a safe space?” Mr Lewis appears to acknowledge this.

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith condemned the outburst: “I think it is disgusting. It is an absolute disgrace and he has let Norwich down. His words are filthy and I am extremely disappointed as a colleague, let alone a female colleague.

“These comments show someone not fit to do their job. I certainly think Clive should apologise to his female constituents. The choice of phrase is a disgrace. It is a forceful, sexual and sexist phrase.

“Whatever the context this is his choice of words. He chooses to think, and speak, and joke like this. The Conservative Party think women should be in Number 10 he thinks they should be on their knees.”

And members of his own party have also hit out at Mr Lewis. Former Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman called it “inexplicable” and “inexcusable” while Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy said: “Even if meant as a joke, reinforces menace that men have the physical power to force compliance.” A Labour spokesman said the party “condemns the language”.

One audience member defended Mr Lewis: “It was a joke. It was not directed at a woman. I am sad he is in trouble because it was a fun event that everyone loved.”

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