TV reporter picked to fight Norwich South for Labour warns Simon Wright his days as an MP are numbered

PUBLISHED: 06:30 21 November 2011

Clive Lewis, Labours candidate for Norwich South.

Clive Lewis, Labours candidate for Norwich South.

Archant Norfolk

Television reporter Clive Lewis, who has been picked by Labour to try to win back Norwich South, has warned Simon Wright that his days as an MP are numbered.

Mr Lewis, 40, emerged as the party’s choice at a hustings held at CNS School in Eaton Road on Saturday after he saw off challengers including Blur drummer Dave Rowntree.

The reporter for Look East and 
the BBC’s Politics Show got the nod after a hustings where the four short-listed candidates addressed party members. They also took part in a question and answer session, with the whole process lasting for more than four hours.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Lewis said the days of Chloe Smith (Norwich North Conservative MP) and Liberal Democrat Mr Wright, were “coming to an end”.

He said it was a privilege and an honour to be selected to fight to regain the seat Mr Wright took from Labour’s Charles Clarke last year.

Speaking to the EDP, Mr Lewis said while it was “daunting” to have the hopes of the party resting on his shoulders, he was determined to dislodge Mr Wright.

He said: “It has been a hard few years for Labour, with what happened to Ian Gibson and Charles Clarke. We never should have lost Norwich South last year, but it has meant, as a party, we had to do some self analysis.

“My message to the Norwich South people who voted Green or Lib Dem last time is that the Lib Dems have signed up to one of the most right wing coalitions since the second world war. Their plans are to privatise health and education. I see that Simon Wright is a fan of free schools and academies, but they take away democratic accountability and invite privatisation, turning education into a commodity rather than something for the public good.”

Mr Lewis, who served a tour as a Territorial Army officer in Helmand province in 2009, was selected last year to take part in Operation Black Vote’s MP Shadowing Scheme at the Houses of Parliament – aimed at nurturing the next generation of black, Asian and Chinese politicians and community leaders.

The other short-listed candidates, whittled down from an initial 30, were Blur drummer Mr Rowntree, Victoria MacDonald, Norwich City councillor for Lakenham and cabinet member for housing, and Joe Goldberg, cabinet member for finance and carbon reduction at Haringey Council in London.

Labour had made Norwich South a priority seat to get a parliamentary candidate in place for the next general election, likely to be in 2015, because the party sees it as a winnable seat.

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