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.
In 1983, after 38 years as an MP, Lewis was deselected as Labour candidate by his local constituency Labour Party, which he said had become "100 per cent Trotskyist, Militant Tendency, Communist and IRA [Provisional Irish Republican Army] supporters." By this time he was refusing to attend local party meetings or hold "advice surgeries" for his constituents.
- Times Guide to the House of Commons, 1950, 1966 and 1983
- Leigh Rayment's Peerage Page