Should Labour pull out of the Richmond by-election in return for a clear run in some council seats? Norwich MP Clive Lewis thinks so.

Clive Lewis. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Clive Lewis. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Labour should consider standing aside in the by-election triggered by the resignation of Zac Goldsmith after the government gave its backing to Heathrow's third runway, Clive Lewis has said.

The shadow cabinet minister and Norwich MP suggested the move in a Labour List blog with two other senior Labour MPs in which he suggested giving the main contenders to Mr Goldsmith - the Liberal Democrats - the chance to kick him out of parliament.

He said the decision must have the support of the local Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats would have to 'understand this isn't a free ride' and give Labour and possibly the Greens a clear run against Tory opponents in local council contests.

Mr Goldsmith was accused of a 'new low to mainstream politics' with his campaign against Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan.

The post also said that Mr Goldsmith was a 'hard Brexiteer willing to throw hard won environmental and workplace protections down the drain despite all his talk of being green'.

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'His claim that this is a referendum on Heathrow is absurd as his chief opponent also opposes a third runway. This is nothing but a vanity project and Labour should think carefully about playing a part in it.

'In this coming Parliament progressives will need every vote they can get. Farron's Lib Dems are far from perfect but with Brexit decisions looming, attempts to bring back secondary moderns, attacks on the Human Rights Act and millions more set to be carved out of the social security budget, the extra vote could be critical. Although she may not act like it, Theresa May has a majority of just 12. This is a serious opportunity to reduce it further.

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'In 1997 political parties decided not to contest Tatton in order to kick out the corrupt Neil Hamilton. It may be time for Labour to put the national interest first. Instead of pretending this is a referendum on Heathrow, why not make it a real referendum on Goldsmith?'

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