Clive Lewis denies registering secret websites in preparation for Labour leadership bid

Credit: PA

Claims that Clive Lewis registered website addresses in apparent preparation for a Labour leadership bid have been denied by a source close to the MP.

It comes after reports that four domain names which appeared to support Lewis for Labour leader were registered on June 29.

That was just two days after he was appointed to Jeremy Corbyn's top team as shadow defence secretary.

The website addresses were: cliveforleader.co.uk, cliveforleader.org.uk, cliveforlabour.co.uk and cliveforlabour.org.uk.

The domains were registered to a 'Clive Lewis'

The Norwich South MP initially told the Huffington Post: "A lesson from LBJ (ex-US president Lyndon B Johnson) in how to smash an opponent.

"Legend has it that LBJ, in one of his early congressional campaigns, told one of his aides to spread the story that Johnson's opponent f***** pigs. The aide responded: 'Christ, Lyndon, we can't call the guy a pigf*****. It isn't true.'

"To which LBJ supposedly replied: 'Of course it ain't true, but I want to make the son-of-a-b**** deny it."'

Later, a source close to Lewis said it was "categorically it is not true" that the MP registered the websites in preparation for a leadership bid.

"It is just even more silliness, there is clearly a concerted effort to undermine him," the source said.

Lewis had provoked speculation he was planning to launch a Labour leadership bid Credit: PA

The then-shadow business secretary was the most high-profile rebel to resign from Mr Corbyn's top team ahead of defying the leader's orders so he could vote against triggering the formal Brexit process.

Lewis's actions provoked claims he was sounding out colleagues about a possible leadership run, but he rejected such talk.

He said earlier this month: "There has been speculation about that, and it is just that. You can quote me on this. It is total b*******."

Lewis was a staunch backer of Mr Corbyn as Labour leader after being elected in 2015.