Labour leadership candidate Clive Lewis has set out his vision for the party in a campaign launch speech today, making the case that it is currently “in crisis” and must “modernise or die”.
In a speech entitled “Transform to Win” in Brixton, the contender – who is struggling to win the support from colleagues that is required to stay in the race – laid out his priorities ahead of the close of MP and MEP nominations on January 13th.
Lewis told supports and press in attendance that he wanted to “completely transform and democratise” Labour’s culture and organisation in line with socialist values and “the fast-changing context of the 21st century”.
He argued that Labour needed to work with other progressive parties and “admit that we don’t have the monopoly on all the answers”. He also expressed support for proportional representation and abolishing the House of Lords.
Speaking to a crowd at the Black Cultural Archives, Lewis said: “We can’t have more of the same. The Labour Party needs to modernise, or it will die.
“I’m fed up with the top-down style of politics, where real debate and discussion in our party is stifled because of sectarianism and tribalism. We can’t grow as a party if we’re afraid of having difficult discussions.”
Lewis added that Labour needed to address “fundamental issues” and that a “few tweaks of policy here, or a slight change of leader” wouldn’t bring “the real change that this country urgently needs”.
The candidate has suggested that Labour would work with Green parliamentarians on a cross-party green new deal project, if he were to win the leadership contest.
Lewis was the second Labour MP to declare his candidacy to be the next Labour leader with a call for electoral reform. He has been a longstanding advocate of proportional representation.
MP nominations close on January 13th and to enter the next stage of the process, each candidate needs to secure the backing of 22 colleagues. Lewis currently has the support of four.