Norwich MP Clive Lewis denies punching wall after major speech

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis. Photo: PA Wire

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis. Photo: PA Wire - Credit: PA

Norwich MP Clive Lewis' has denied punching a wall after a senior Corbyn aide made a last minute change to his first speech to conference as shadow defence secretary.

While the shadow minister was given a standing ovation amid betting odds which suggest he is the favourite to be the next Labour Party leader, behind the scenes there was a disagreement about the line he should take on the party's policy on the Trident nuclear deterrent.

The shadow defence secretary used his speech to attempt to unify the party over a bitter summer leadership battle.

An early supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, he has backed the current leader in two leadership races since becoming an MP last year – a move which could boost his standing with the hundreds of thousands of members who have backed the Islington MP.

But in what will be seen as an olive branch to MPs who resigned from Mr Corbyn's shadow cabinet in the wake of the European Union referendum result, Mr Lewis used his speech to say that Labour is committed to its Nato obligations - including military action.

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He also told members he was clear that the party had a policy for Trident renewal, while making clear his scepticism to the move.

But a pledge not to unpick party policy, is understood to have been removed by a senior aide to Mr Corbyn. Anti-nuclear campaigners have condemned Labour after the shadow defence secretary restated the party's support for Trident renewal - despite Jeremy Corbyn's opposition. Ladbrokes is offering odds of 8 to 1 for the MP to be the next to hold the top job.

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