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Clive Lewis: Mocking suicide or just naive?

PUBLISHED: 12:13 21 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:28 21 November 2018

Labour's Clive Lewis has been criticised for his actions in the Commons
 Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Labour's Clive Lewis has been criticised for his actions in the Commons Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Norwich South MP Clive Lewis has caused controversy by simulating shooting himself in the House of Commons. But was he mocking suicide or just a bit silly? Political editor RICHARD PORRITT reports

Oh dear Clive.

Firstly we should get one thing straight – Mr Lewis is obviously not someone who would mock suicide.

In 2009 he did a three-month tour of duty as an infantry officer in Afghanistan but struggled when he returned to civvy street. He was diagnosed with depression and received counselling. This is not a man who jokes about mental health issues.

READ: MP ‘jokes about suicide’ in House of Commons

And the reason for his rather over-the-top game of charades on the Labour front bench was a Conservative MP intervening on a discussion about the Finance Bill. This was not a discussion about mental health or suicide.

But nonetheless Mr Lewis has questions to answer. The public expect politicians to take debates in the Commons seriously. Sadly on Tuesday evening Mr Lewis appeared more like a mischievous schoolboy than a elected member.

Simulating putting a gun in your mouth and firing it is a commonly used symbol to suggest exasperation. That is what Mr Lewis was trying to portray. But his standards must be higher – especially while in the chamber.

The current political environment is febrile. Our MPs should be focussing on Brexit and the scores of other vital issues facing our region and the nation.

Mr Lewis has yet to comment publicly on his actions. Perhaps he should say “sorry” and we can all move on.

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