The question most frequently asked of Clive Lewis these days is: ‘Are you the next leader of the Labour Party?’
It’s not a question he likes, realising that it must annoy longer-serving colleagues, even if they view him as the most electable potential leader among the small cadre of Labour MPs who support Jeremy Corbyn.
The shadow business, energy, and industrial strategy secretary has, after all, only been in Parliament since last year. Frankly, so early is he in his political career, Lewis comes across far too happy, upbeat and normal a person to lead a major political party. He isn't battle-worn yet.
But WriteYou didn't ask Lewis about the leadership, because we cover the tough topics. Instead, political editor Mark Leftly wanted to know: “Who, Clive, are your political heroes?
It’s hard to imagine that Corbyn or Theresa May would take their inspiration to this line of grilling from American rappers…
And it’s also hard to imagine that many of the so-called Labour “moderates” would select Lewis' third choice, Tony Benn. Indeed, Lord Neil Kinnock has already cited the late, great leftwinger as one of his most difficult enemies in one of our previous ‘Top Fives’…
1. One of my first political heroes was Malcolm X
“As a young black man who was growing up and loved hip hop I’d hear about this guy Malcolm X and I thought who the hell is this? Is it made up? Public Enemy and KRS-One talked about him. We didn't have the Internet then, so I started going to the library and I read Alex Haley’s biography of him and I was absolutely amazed at his life and then how he came full circle [to disavow all racism].”
2. I’ve a lot of time for Clement Attlee for obvious reasons
“He’s a favourite for so many people. He let Churchill be Churchill during the Second World War and then obviously what he did after the war [on welfare].”
3. Tony Benn, I’m a big fan of
“Sometimes I so wish he was around today because he had the ability to grasp a situation and then would explain it to people in a way that made so much sense. On the Left I think we sometimes miss that, someone who can say something and make it sound like commonsense. He made it look very easy and it’s a very rare talent. I don't think he always had it, but he definitely had it in a certain point in his career.”
4. Barbara Castle
“She was one of the first, that I know of, modern politicians.”
5. Harold Wilson
“The first modern Labour politician.”
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