Tom Swarbrick 10pm - 1am
Labour leadership candidate Clive Lewis calls for referendum on the Royal family
10 January 2020, 18:34
Labour leadership candidate Clive Lewis has said he wants a referendum on the future of the Royal Family, just days after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they would be "stepping back" as senior royals.
Mr Lewis said "a lot of people would like to see the monarchy scaled down" in speech which officially launched his bid to replace Jeremy Corbyn.
He also said the Duchess had suffered from racism in the British press, and added: "I think it is extremely unfortunate and a sign of the media we have that they feel they had to do this."
But in sign he believes the Royal family should be scaled down, he said it is "quite large" before adding: "Why not have a referendum on the future of the Royal Family?"
"Let's talk about what a modern state looks like and what the role of the Royal Family would be. I'd rather see us as citizens than subjects in the 21st Century."
In response to my comments about the royal family. I didn’t say they should be abolished, I have lots of respect for the hard work they do. I simply think the question about their size & the money they receive should be one for the public. Asking these questions is democratic.— Clive Lewis MP (@labourlewis) January 10, 2020
After receiving some backlash, Mr Lewis later took to Twitter to defend his comments, saying that he "didn't say they should be abolished".
In the social media post, he said: "In response to my comments about the royal family. I didn’t say they should be abolished, I have lots of respect for the hard work they do.
"I simply think the question about their size & the money they receive should be one for the public. Asking these questions is democratic."
The shadow Treasury minister is running to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader but as of yet has not secured the support of 22 MPs or MEPs needed to stay in the race.
His comments come after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle revealed their intentions to "to step back as senior members of the Royal Family, and work to become financially independent".
They said they would "continuing to honour our duty to the Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages".
The decision came "after many months of reflection and internal discussions", they added.