Great Britain

Clive Lewis: Why Labour leadership candidate was at centre of Ken Livingstone row

The frontrunners in the leadership race are currently Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Keir Starmer and Jess Phillips. Now Mr Lewis, who has held Shadow Cabinet roles including Shadow Defence Secretary and Shadow Business Secretary, has revealed his intention to run to be Mr Corbyn’s successor. Betfair odds out today put Ms Long-Bailey on 18/8, Mr Starmer on 3/1, Ms Nandy on 11/2, Ms Phillips on 10/1 and Mr Clive on 21/1.

Mr Lewis was one of the first to back Mr Corbyn when he ran for leader and was rewarded with a Shadow Cabinet role, having only just been elected to Parliament.

He left the front bench in February 2017 to rebel over the party’s decision to trigger Article 50 but returned around a year later to serve as the sustainable economics minister.

Mr Lewis was at the centre of a row involving big Labour figures back when he was the vice president of the National Union of Students (NUS) in 1996.

A big supporter of free education, Mr Lewis signed a letter that argued for the abolition of student loans in November 1995, saying “any loans system will be unfair".

READ MORE: How Laura Kuenssberg dubbed Jeremy Corbyn 'unknown insurgent'

clive lewis ken livingstone

Labour leadership hopeful Clive Lewis and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone (Image: GETTY)

jim murphy scottish labour

Former Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy (Image: GETTY)

Then, in 1996 he was suspended from his role by Jim Murphy, who was then-president of the NUS and would later go on to lead Scottish Labour, for attending a debate on free education organised by the Campaign for Free Education (CFE).

He later ran as the CFE candidate for NUS President, running on a campaign of a return to full grants and free education, but lost to the Labour Students candidate Douglas Trainer.

Mr Murphy’s decision to suspend Mr Lewis was condemned by Mr Livingstone in an early day motion tabled in the House of Commons in June 1996, branding it “intolerant and dictatorial”.

The motion received the backing of 13 MPs – including now-Labour leader Mr Corbyn, Dennis Skinner and Tony Benn.

jeremy corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn signed Ken Livingstone's early day motion condemning Jim Murphy (Image: GETTY)

Mr Corbyn also backs free education, insisting that a Labour government under him would abolish tuition fees.

The early day motion form 1996 read: “This House condemns the intolerant and dictatorial behaviour of the President of the National Union of Students, Mr Jim Murphy, who has unconstitutionally suspended NUS Vice President, Clive Lewis, because he took part, in a personal capacity, in an open debate at Queen Mary and Westfield College on the issues raised by the Campaign for Free Education.

“This House further notes that along with President Elect, Douglas Trainer, both men have warned NUS Executive member, Rose Woods, that if she attends the Scottish launch of the Campaign for Free Education she too will be suspended from the NUS Executive.

“This House reminds Mr Murphy and Mr Trainer that freedom of speech is a right in the United Kingston, that they have no power to overturn the results of elections that went against their preferred candidates.

DON'T MISS

Jeremy Corbyn's disaster: Even Michael Foot won more seats [INSIGHT]
Labour's horrific dilemma exposed: Proof party is out of options [ANALYSIS]
David Starkey hits out at Tony Blair’s 'dangerous' law change [QUOTE]

clive lewis

Clive Lewis at the teachers' strike (Image: GETTY)

clive lewis brexit

Clive Lewis is staunchly anti-Brexit (Image: GETTY)

“And that, whilst these methods are common practice in dictatorships around the world, they are not acceptable behaviour from someone such as Mr Murphy who is putting himself forward as suitable for election to the House of Commons as a new Labour Party candidate.”

This tension appears to be between two factions in the Labour Party.

Mr Lewis is a left-winger, supportive of and supported by people like Mr Corbyn and Mr Benn. 

However, Mr Murphy, who was first elected in 1997, was a minister in both the Blair and Brown governments and was seen as a leading figure in the New Labour faction of the party.

Mr Lewis has been vocal in his opposition to Trident and austerity, which Mr Corbyn also opposes.

Mr Lewis wrote in 2013: “It’s a mistaken clamour for political survival, not humanity's survival, that motivates the proponents of nuclear weapons within the Labour Party. 

“Elements cling to nuclear weapons like a religious mantra. 

“Party policy must change on this matter if we are to have any hope of fulfilling our vote desire for a better, fairer, safer world.”

clive lewis emily thornberry

Clive Lewis sitting next to Emily Thornberry during Corbyn speech (Image: GETTY)

According to the Morning Star, Mr Lewis has “batted off the pleas for caution that candidates face from the party bureaucracy” in expressing these views.

However, in his leadership announcement he accused Mr Corbyn of “indecisiveness" and a “lack of leadership”.

He described the general election defeat as Labour’s “own Dunkirk” and vowed to “unleash” the party by handing more power to members.

What’s more, he is fervently anti-Brexit and has pushed for a second referendum.

Football news:

De Gea took ayew's shot from the penalty spot, but the referee forced an Interruption. Zaa scored
Van de Beek scored for Manchester United for the first time after moving from Ajax
Josep Bartomeu: No one is planning to resign. We are focused on the work of Barca
Patrice evra: Manchester United's Deals have impressed social media more than they have affected the reality
Bellingham, 17, is the youngest assist writer in the Bundesliga. He gave a pass to the same age as Reina
Bielsa Pro 4:3 with Fulham: It was difficult for Leeds to impose their style of play on their opponents
Bale is a tactical rebus for Mourinho. His move to Tottenham is more necessary for Levi, not Jose