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Labour could end up 'destroyed' like Lib Dems if 'mixed messages' allow a 'Tory Brexit' - Norwich MP

PUBLISHED: 16:32 14 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:03 14 February 2019

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis has said Labour's "dangerous mixed messages" on leaving the EU could be helping "facilitate a Tory Brexit".

Speaking at a “Love socialism, hate Brexit” meeting in Westminster, Mr Lewis drew comparisons between Labour’s EU withdrawal stance and how the Liberal Democrats tried to soften austerity while in coalition with the Tories.

Referring to the Lib Dems, Mr Lewis said: “They were utterly and comprehensively destroyed by the British public and not forgiven because they facilitated austerity. They facilitated the Tories doing that.

“And my fear is that what we are now doing is we are helping to facilitate a Tory Brexit. And the ramifications for our party I think will be severe.

“And just like the Liberal Democrats, when Theresa May has bogged off somewhere to go and put her trotters up after she has delivered her Brexit, and a new Tory leader comes in, he will say, ‘You know what? She was a disaster for this country. She betrayed this country. But so too did the leader of the opposition. He was part of this sorry debacle and I am now going to move forward to try and resolve this situation in the best way I can’.

“And I tell you what, the Tory right wing mainstream media will get behind that narrative. And it is us, the Labour Party, who will pick up a lot of the flak for what happens.”

The comments came as Angela Smith said she and other Labour MPs were “being pushed to the edge” by Jeremy Corbyn on Brexit.

Mr Lewis, who insisted he supported Mr Corbyn’s leadership, added: “We are now sending some mixed messages out there and that is truly dangerous.”

The shadow minister suggested EU withdrawal could lead to military conflict in the future.

He said: “My fear is this, if we walk away from Europe now, my children, your children, or possibly our grandchildren, but probably our children could be back in Europe in a few years’ time - but in uniform. And I don’t want to see that happen.”

Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Ms Smith told the BBC: “We are being pushed to the edge on Brexit, on Venezuela, on anti-Semitism.

“And it’s for Jeremy Corbyn - he needs to show that the Labour Party is a broad church.

“He’s pushing us to the edge.”

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