Clive Lewis and Caroline Flint in Labour conference shouting match
The pair don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on more than one issue.
Labour conference got off to a lively start as two senior MPs become embroiled in a row over the party’s stance on freedom of movement.
Former shadow cabinet minister Clive Lewis clashed with former Europe minister Caroline Flint, as fellow Labour MP Lisa Nandy stood on the sidelines.
Flint was most riled when Lewis suggested that opposing freedom of movement was racist. On Sunday with Niall Paterson on Sky News, the left winger said: “It always comes back down to something the left in this country has very much difficulty with, which is that it is ultimately about racism.”
Flint hit back: “People don’t want to have our migration settled by the 27 other member states. They want us to be able to have the right to decide that.”
It is not the only issue where the two MPs from different wings of the party can’t agree with each other.
Lewis also wants to see Labour forming progressive alliances or electoral pacts with other parties across the left including the Greens, Liberal Democrats and SNP.
“Such progressive alliances are now essential not just because that is the only way we can beat the Tories but because that is the way we will make better decisions and take more of the country with us,” he has stated in an article for the Guardian.
“Frankly, I want to be in government with Caroline Lucas, not against her – and certainly not in permanent opposition.”
But Flint is strongly opposed to the idea – as she made clear at the Progress rally at this year’s Labour conference.
“Labour’s path to power must be on its own terms, not a stitch up with smaller parties,” she declared.