“Don’t take this personally,” says David Lammy, grasping my arm and laughing gustily to reassure me. “But I find that a slightly odd question.” It is the only moment when the Labour MP and self-confessed “Remainiac” appears to be irritated, which perhaps explains the extra display of affability.

The “slightly odd” question is whether he has become an angrier politician. I have tiptoed into it, aware that it risks seeming insensitive — but, given his record over the past three years, it feels an unavoidable inquiry. Since the 2016 EU referendum, Lammy, a moderate, Harvard-educated barrister once tipped to be Britain’s first black prime minister, has been transformed by events into an unrelenting campaigner. He has been implacable in his assault on Brexiters, even likening cheerleaders of the cause in the European Research Group to Nazis. Two days after the vote, he tweeted: “Wake up. We do not have to do this.”

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now