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5:27 PM September 27, 2022

06:13 PM September 27, 2022

Clive Lewis said he would have been “more comfortable” singing the red flag at the Labor Party Conference this year, rather than the national anthem.

The MP for Norwich South said he understood the reasons why the event, being held in Liverpool, opened with Sir Keir Starmer leading the delegates in a rendition of God Save the King.

However, he said that would not have been his preference.

“I’m probably more comfortable singing the red flag,” he said.

“Actually, I’m definitely more comfortable singing the red flag. But do you know what, it happened and it went without any problems.”

The Red Flag is a traditional socialist anthem that has been sung at most Labor conferences.

Mr Lewis, who is a Republican, had raised concerns during the period of national mourning for the Queen over a number of arrests of anti-monarchy protesters.

He warned: “Whether you support the monarchy or not, a functioning democracy needs trustworthy institutions to uphold basic public rights.

Mr Lewis, however, stressed that he understood why the anthem had been used to open the Labor conference and that he saw no conflict between singing it and having republican beliefs.

“It is clearly a moment of celebration, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

“I think you can be a Republican and sing the national anthem, because you understand the lyrics are about the current head of state, and that doesn’t mean you don’t feel the same emotions, the same connectedness. , with the people of this country.

“So for me, I think it’s all about the feeling and the national anthems are about the feeling of coming together, being one and showing solidarity.

“And I think no matter how it’s expressed, it’s a feeling that I feel, and I don’t have a problem with it.”

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer on the Wakefield by-election campaign trail
– Credit: PA

He said Mr Starmer’s speech had been “good”.

“There was real meat on the bone,” he added.

“I think we’ve been a bit deprived of politics and this was the first year we’d seen substantial political announcements.

“I particularly like the look and sound of the [nationally-owned Great British] energy company.

“I’d like to see the details, but I think on the surface it’s a very smart way to be able to put a public company at the forefront of renewables.”

He added that he was also encouraged by conference members showing their support for the introduction of a proportional voting system in general elections, and said it must now be adopted as party policy.

Candidate hopes party is on course for victory

In neighboring North Norwich, Labor candidate Alice Macdonald said Mr Starmer’s speech was ‘exactly what the party needed to hear, but more importantly what the country needed to hear’.

Alice Macdonald, Labor candidate for Norwich North in the upcoming general election

Alice Macdonald, Labor candidate for Norwich North in the upcoming general election
– Credit: Noah Vickers/Local Democracy Reporting Service

She added: “If you look at some of the specifics of Norwich North and East Anglia, it’s investment in renewables, which will make a huge difference – and proper plans to tackle the cost of living, which won’t will not be paid by the workers, it will be paid by the taxes on the energy companies.

Ms Macdonald is hoping to capture the constituency of Work and Pensions Secretary Chloe Smith in the next general election.

She said recent polls conducted for the party – including a recent 17-point lead over the Conservatives recorded by YouGov – show the party “is a credible and serious party in government and people look to us for support.” answers that they are not”. get preservatives”.