Former shadow business secretary Clive Lewis, who resigned last week following Jeremy Corbyn's implementation of a three-line whip on the Brexit bill, has denied speculation that he will challenge Corbyn as labour leader. Over the past year, Lewis has been perceived as a rising star within Labour who has a wider appeal than Corbyn but he has publically denied rumours of leadership aspirations.

'Fantasy politics in Westminster'

Following his resignation on Wednesday, rumours about a leadership challenge started to circulate. However, in an interview with his local newspaper in Norwich, Lewis emphatically denied the rumours.

Lewis said: 'You can quote this in the paper. It is total bollocks. Any talk of me challenging Jeremy for the Labour leadership is a game of fantasy politics in Westminster. Nothing could be further from my mind'.

Clive Lewis was one of 52 Labour MPs who voted against Jeremy Corbyn's three line whip to vote in favour of granting Theresa May the power to trigger article 50 and start the formal process of leaving the European Union. Lewis was the fourth shadow cabinet minister to resign over Corbyn's whip.

In his resignation letter, Lewis said: 'When I became an MP I promised to represent my constituents. I promised to be Norwich's voice in Westminster not Westminster's voice in Norwich'. Norwich South voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union.

Lewis supportive of Corbyn's position

Lewis continued: 'I've been representing Norwich in parliament for just over two years. My plan is to get into the backbench routine and hold the government to account. If we hadn't whipped, it would have meant that myself and others could have kept our jobs in the shadow cabinet. There was no easy answer.

Corbyn was placed in an unfavourable position. Labour had to make a stand one way or another on Brexit. Either way, people would have lost'.

Corbyn's handling of the rebellion has raised questions about his future as Labour leader. Lewis was supportive of Corbyn's delicate position, though. Despite failing to add amendments to the Brexit bill, Jeremy Corbyn remains optimistic that Labour can force the government into Brexit concessions.