General election needed so Labour can sort out Brexit, says Norwich South MP Clive Lewis

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis. Picture: Nick Butcher

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis has insisted the Labour party could get a better Brexit deal - and called for a general election to give them the opportunity.

The Labour MP made his comments during an appearance on BBC Question Time, where the recent controversy around his 'suicide' gesture in the House of Commons was not brought up.

Mr Lewis said: 'Theresa May has messed up these negotiations, she has messed up any ability to bring this country together and that's why we are in the mess we are in.'

He said he had been impressed, after the referendum how people in Norwich had said 'fair cop', we lost, but accused the prime minister of alienating his constituents by failing to bring the country together.

He said: 'What she has done in my constituency, is she has driven people further apart with the politicking she has done and I think it's only the Labour party which can make some progress on this and bring the country back together.'

He said: 'I think Theresa May should step aside for the Labour party, let us sort it out and have a relationship with Europe that works for everyone in this country, not just her hard Brexiteers.'

He said Labour could put a deal in place that protects jobs. He said; 'There's a genuine need for a genuine election and that's where people will get a choice and a say on who leads this now and who negotiates this.'

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But he came in for criticism from Trevor Phillips, former chairman of the Equality and Human Right Commission.

He said, despite being a 'great fan' of Mr Lewis, who he hoped he would one day be a contender to lead the Labour party, it was an 'utter fantasy' that there was a chance for another deal to be negotiated if Labour won a general election.

He said the in-fighting was holding millions of people 'hostage'.

Mr Lewis was this week filmed simulating shooting himself in the mouth during a debate in the House of Commons.

The footage – which has been widely shared on social media – drew criticism online, which accusations that he was mocking suicide.

Mr Lewis was reacting to a Conservative MP intervening while his Labour colleague Anneliese Dodds made a speech during a debate on the Finance Bill.

On Thursday night's Question Time, Mr Lewis, who has declined to comment on the furore, sat next to one of those who defended his actions - Brexiteer broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer.

She had tweeted: 'Right, Clive Lewis is NOT 'mocking suicide', he is making a figurative joke about wanting to kill himself rather than listen to any more nonsense. This is not mocking anyone, it's a joke. Everyone, calm down. Can we please stop pretending to be offended by *everything*?'