Norwich MP Clive Lewis rules himself out of the running for post in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet

Jeremy Corbyn and Clive Lewis at the Burston School Strike Rally 2015. Photo: Stuart Goodman

Jeremy Corbyn and Clive Lewis at the Burston School Strike Rally 2015. Photo: Stuart Goodman - Credit: Archant

Key Jeremy Corbyn ally Clive Lewis has ruled out an imminent elevation to the front bench to make way for 'experience' and other wings of the party.

The Norwich South MP, who was elected in May, said he had had discussions with the new Labour leader, but that he had not backed him for political advancement and it would be arrogant to think he could do a shadow cabinet job to the standard required after such a short time.

He said he had been taken aback by the scale of the victory which had seen the left-wing veteran secure almost 60pc of first-choice votes in the leadership race, but that his victory could pave the way for the party to win again in places like Norwich North, which was a Labour-held seat until 2009.

New deputy leader Tom Watson said Mr Corbyn was putting together a 'broad based' shadow cabinet and urged moderate colleagues to respect the 'huge mandate' provided by his convincing leadership contest win.

But he accepted there were crucial areas - such as the new leader's opposition to the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent and his approach to Nato and Europe - where compromise would have to be sought.

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Mr Lewis admitted that economic credibility was a key issue for the party but that there was a real alternative to 'austerity economics'.

'What you are going to see is Labour, Jeremy Corbyn and our party will articulate mainstream economics. It is about investing, not cutting your way to jobs an growth,' he said.

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But his predecessor in Norwich South Charles Clarke accused Jeremy Corbyn of running a 'deeply cynical' campaign promising a future which he knew he would never deliver.

'As he parades his own commitment to 'principles', he wilfully ignores the most important political principle: the integrity to put your promises into practice,' he wrote in a national newspaper.

Mr Lewis said that while helping the most vulnerable and those in poverty was a 'massive core part of what we are about', the Labour Party would have to appeal to people who considered themselves to be middle class and aspiring.

'We have to be able to say to them our politics and economics offer you and your children and your family a much better quality of life. I don't just mean financially, I mean culturally, community wise. When we step over homeless people, when we see anti-social behaviour, when we see children are not fed properly, are forced to go to foodbanks and are living in terrible positions at home, they can come to class and district the class and behave badly sometimes and that affects children's education. We are all interlinked. We are a community. When one part suffers we all suffer. I think these are strong arguments and I think we can win people back in Norwich North.'

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