Labour leadership candidate calls for referendum on Royal Family

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Clive Lewis has called for a referendum on the future of the Royal Family, saying Britons should be “citizens rather than subjects”.

The Labour Party leadership candidate and shadow Treasury minister suggested the idea along with other constitutional changes, including proportional representation.

He told a campaign event in south London: “Why not have a referendum in this country on the future of the Royal Family?

Harry and Meghan did not consult
Image: Harry and Meghan have said they want to step back from their position as senior royals

“We are a democracy. I’d rather see us as citizens rather than subjects in the 21st century.

“Let’s look at what a modern state looks like and what the role of the Royal Family would be.”

Asked about the Royal Family at the event in Brixton, he said he understood the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s decision to step back as senior royals.

Mr Lewis said: “I completely respect the right of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to do what they have done. It is a matter for them.”

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“It is extremely unfortunate and a sign of the media we have that they feel they have to do this,” he said, arguing the duchess had suffered from racism in the press.

“I know it is not the only reason. But if you look at the intrusion on their lives… then I can understand why, given what’s happened, given the difficulties within their family, it can’t be easy being a royal.”

Mr Lewis and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry are the only ones out of a field of six who have not yet reached the 22 nominations required to progress in the leadership race.

Mr Lewis, who has four signatories and is MP for Norwich South, said his party must “modernise or die”.

He added: “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.

“I’m standing because I see a party in crisis and democracy in crisis, and unless we start addressing some fundamental issues, a few tweaks of policy here, or a slight change of leader there, aren’t going to bring the real change that this country urgently needs.”

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis takes part the annual Rehab Parliamentary Pancake Race in which MPs, Lords and members of the media race each other on pancake day to raise money for the charity Rehab, in Victoria Tower Gardens, London
Image: Can the Norwich South MP outrun the other leadership hopefuls?

Among Mr Lewis’s competitors, Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, was the first to get the number of nominations needed, with the party confirming he has 63 backers.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Jess Phillips have also all secured the 22 backers required.

As of Friday, Ms Long-Bailey currently has 26 supporters, Ms Nandy has 24 and Ms Phillips has 22.

Labour leadership hopeful Clive Lewis calls for referendum on future of Royal Family

Clive Lewis has called for a referendum on the future of the Royal family, saying Britons should be “citizens rather than subjects”. The Labour Party leadership contender and shadow Treasury minister suggested the idea along with other constitutional changes, including proportional representation.

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