Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership is undermined by the resignation of one of his strongest allies, Shadow Business Secretary and prospective Labour leader, Clive Lewis.
Clive Lewis’ resignation was revealed last night, shortly before he voted against triggering formal Brexit negotiations.
Lewis stated that he could not ‘in all good conscience, vote for something I believe will ultimately harm the city I have the honour to represent, love and call home.
‘When I became the MP for Norwich South, I promised my constituents I would be Norwich’s voice in Westminster, not Westminster’s voice in Norwich.
‘It is therefore with a heavy heart that I have decided to resign from the shadow cabinet.’
The former front-bencher concluded: ‘It has been a privilege to work with Jeremy Corbyn and be part of the shadow cabinet.
‘I will continue to support our party and our leader from the back benches to the very best of my ability.’
The move follows reports that the Labour leader is constructing a handover plan, dubbed by a senior source as ‘nonsense’.
Despite the Government winning by 494 to 122 votes, 52 Labour MPs defied Corbyn’s instructions to support the triggering of Article 50 in the name of democracy.
Controversially, 17 other front-benchers voted against the bill fuelling rumours of a potential leadership challenge.
Insiders suggest that by voting against Brexit, Lewis won the support of a significant proportion of Corbyn’s anti-Brexit supporters.
It seems Lewis could effectively unite both hard-left and more moderate Labour MPs, making him a prime candidate to take top position in the party.
Lewis spent his childhood on a council estate in Northampton and then became an army reservist, serving in Afghanistan.
He also worked as a BBC television presenter before embarking on a political career. Although short, his journey through politics thus far has involved a fair share of controversy.
Lewis missed his first crucial question time in parliament as Shadow Defence Secretary because he was still at Glastonbury music festival.
Conversation was also sparked over his claims that ‘racism’ stunted his progress as a BBC political reporter.
His former manager at the BBC, Tim Bishop, demanded an apology for the accusation and revealed the true reason for his dismissal.
Bishop stated: ‘His career at the BBC was not wrecked by racism… I removed him as a political correspondent because he did not know enough about politics to do that job.’
Lewis also raised eyebrows with his honest description of almost shooting a civilian in Afghanistan.
When criticising law firms that pursue soldiers for their actions in war zones, he stated: ‘I can speak from knowledge here, from personal experience.
‘When I was in Afghanistan there were situations – and I can think of a situation in particular – where I could have easily shot a civilian.
‘It could have happened. Very close.’
An MP for Norwich South since 2015, Lewis’ political priorities include the NHS and opposing the renewal of Trident.
Having been branded a potential leader by both Corbyn himself and the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, it seems Clive Lewis’ chance to usurp may be fast approaching.