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Norwich MP Clive Lewis speaks of mental anguish he suffered following groping accusation

PUBLISHED: 07:49 04 January 2018 | UPDATED: 07:49 04 January 2018

Norwich South Labour MP Clive Lewis. Picture: Nick Butcher

Norwich South Labour MP Clive Lewis. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

Labour MP Clive Lewis has spoken of the mental anguish he suffered after when accused of groping a woman, claiming it made him think about quitting politics.

The Norwich South MP was put under investigation in November after a party supporter claimed he groped her at the Labour Party’s annual conference.

Mr Lewis had always denied the allegation and was later cleared of sexual harassment following a party inquiry.

Now, in an interview with BBC Radio 4, the former soldier has spoken about how the allegations affected him mentally.

Referring to the time when he suffered depression after coming back from Afghanistan, Mr Lewis said his mental state was “probably as bad as that”.

When he was told of the allegation, he said it felt like “the earth opened up and swallowed me”, adding: “I got the phone call when I was in the chamber, I came out and took it and the journalist said: ‘Someone is accusing you of this.’

“It wasn’t pleasant.”

Mr Lewis was accused of squeezing a women’s backside during a Momentum fringe event in Brighton in September.

During the interview, Mr Lewis said he was initially advised to put out a statement and then “go and hide”.

But he said: “I was like, no, I don’t want to.

“Ultimately, I wanted to come out and say look, I do not go around groping women.”

However he added: “I’m not wallowing around in self pity.

“The investigation has happened, I’m not being investigated any more and I can get on with my job.”

Mr Lewis said the furore had made him question whether he wanted to continue as an MP.

He said: “You constantly live in fear of that phone call or that story.

“But that is the inevitability of being a politician. It is a constant Sword of Damocles over your head.”

“But there is life outside of politics. When you have chosen to try to make a difference, to then think do I want to do it anymore is a very depressing thought.

However he said he had since resolved to stay in politics.

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