Arthur Lewis (politician)

Arthur Lewis (politician)

Arthur William John Lewis (21 February 1917 - 25 June 1998) was a British Labour politician.

Lewis was educated at Borough Polytechnic and began work as a fitter with the City of London Corporation. He was an official of the National Union of General and Municipal Workers 1938-48. He signed the first trade union agreement with the catering industry and gained 20,000 new trade union members in the West End, London.

Lewis was Member of Parliament (MP) for Upton from 1945 to 1950, for West Ham North from 1950 to 1974, and then for Newham North West.

In 1983, after 38 years as an MP, Lewis was deselected as Labour candidate by his local constituency Labour Party. He had grown more and more distant from the party over the 38 years and by 1983 he was refusing to attend local party meetings or hold "advice surgeries" for his constituents. Constituents who were from recently arrived immigrant communities found him particularly elusive.

He was replaced by future minister Tony Banks. Lewis laboured under the delusion that the voters would rise up to support him and decided to stand as an Independent Labour candidate. He came fourth with 11% of the vote while Banks won easily.

Some commentators have suggested that Lewis knew that the game was up for him and that his real motivation for standing as an independent candidate was to qualify for the redundancy pay that was given to members of parliament who lost their seats at an election.

He was never seen in Newham again.


*"Times Guide to the House of Commons, 1950, 1966 and 1983

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