Labour MP Clive Lewis apologises for ‘offensive’ comments
The video of Mr Lewis drew widespread criticism in Labour ranks.
A senior Labour MP has apologised after a video emerged in which he made derogatory comments.
In the footage, which the Guido Fawkes website said was taken at an event held by the Jeremy Corbyn-supporting Momentum group, Clive Lewis, the former shadow business secretary, is heard to say: “Get on your knees, bitch.”
A spokeswoman for the party said: “The Labour Party condemn the language used by Clive Lewis. It was completely unacceptable and falls far short of the standard we expect of Labour MPs.”
I apologise unreservedly for the language I used at an event in Brighton last month. It was offensive and unacceptable.— Clive Lewis (@labourlewis) October 20, 2017
Norwich South MP Mr Lewis said: “I apologise unreservedly for the language I used at an event in Brighton last month. It was offensive and unacceptable.”
The video of Mr Lewis drew widespread criticism in Labour ranks, with former deputy party leader Harriet Harman tweeting: “Inexplicable. Inexcusable. Dismayed.”
Inexplicable. Inexcusable. Dismayed. https://t.co/ZayhciCphU— Harriet Harman (@HarrietHarman) October 20, 2017
The chairwoman of the women’s parliamentary Labour Party, Jess Phillips, also took to social media to express concern, tweeting: “Just seen the Clive Lewis video. Obviously I am appalled, just listened to 7 teenage girls speak up about gender inequality. Perhaps I’ll bring them to work on Monday.”
Former minister Yvette Cooper tweeted: “Agree w Jess. No excuse for saying this, whatever context.”
Labour MP Stella Creasy branded the remarks unacceptable.
She tweeted: “It’s not OK. Even if meant as a joke, reinforces menace that men have the physical power to force compliance.”
Agree w Jess. No excuse for saying this, whatever context. https://t.co/Sq0krWTeBx— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) October 20, 2017
Tory MP Mims Davies tweeted: “Astounding inappropriate language from @labourlewis I think @jessphillips needs to get you on an URGENT training course. This must stop.”
A Momentum source said Mr Lewis made the comments to a male participant on stage who was kneeling down to take the score during a game show segment at an event, not to a female audience member.
Mr Lewis, who in the past has been spoken of as a future Labour leader, quit the frontbench earlier this year when he rebelled against Mr Corbyn and voted against triggering Brexit negotiations.
Mr Lewis directed the comments at actor Sam Swann, the Independent reported.
Mr Swann told the newspaper the incident was “clearly jovial”.
Chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Rebecca Hilsenrath, said: “This is entirely extraordinary language on the part of an elected politician.
“Clive Lewis’ words are highly derogatory, offensive and completely inexcusable, and we, and the women in Mr Lewis’ constituency, have every right to expect our MPs to behave in a more professional manner.
“We need to see firm, robust and prompt action on the part of the Labour Party to make clear that there is no place for misogyny in the party.”