Clive Lewis returns to Labour frontbench

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Labour MP Clive Lewis has returned to the party’s shadow ministerial team weeks after being cleared of groping allegations.

The Norwich South MP, who quit the shadow cabinet last year after opposing Labour’s Brexit stance, has been appointed shadow minister for the Treasury.

Mr Lewis was last month cleared of claims he groped a woman after the party’s sexual harassment panel found insufficient evidence to proceed with a case against him.

The MP had been accused of squeezing a woman’s bottom while giving her a hug at an event at the Labour annual conference in Brighton in September.

The investigation into Mr Lewis came shortly after he was the target of criticism over a video, reportedly filmed at the same event at the Momentum-backed festival The World Transformed, in which he jokingly told a man to “get on your knees bitch”.

His comments in the video drew widespread condemnation from fellow Labour MPs, with party leader Jeremy Corbyn describing them as “completely unacceptable”.

Mr Lewis, who previously served as shadow business secretary and shadow defence secretary, was among a raft of new junior ministers announced by Mr Corbyn.

The shake-up of middle-level ranks also saw Laura Pidcock take over the labour brief on the frontbench team.

Ms Pidcock has attracted attention for saying she could never be friends with a Tory because they are “the enemy”.

Mr Corbyn said: “I am pleased to make these appointments to strengthen Labour’s frontbench team, which is now a government in waiting.

“I look forward to working with them in their new roles holding the Government to account, developing policy to transform our country and, with their shadow secretary of states, preparing to form a government that will deliver for the many, not the few.”

Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis said: “This reshuffle shows yet again that Labour will not just fail to confront abusive behaviour, but they will reward it.

“Clive Lewis and Laura Pidcock represent a nasty, regressive brand of politics which could not be further from Jeremy Corbyn’s laughable claims to represent a ‘kinder, gentler’ politics.

“It’s time for Labour MPs to speak up and condemn these appointments to ensure that all parties are united in working to stamp out abusive behaviour in public life.”

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