EXCL Jess Phillips: Jeremy Corbyn staying on as leader would be 'the ultimate selfish act'

Posted On: 
4th April 2017

A leading Labour MP has said it would be "the ultimate selfish act" for Jeremy Corbyn to stay on as Labour leader.

Labour MP Jess Phillips said it would be 'selfish' of Jeremy Corbyn to stay on

Jess Phillips. who chairs the Women's Parliamentary Labour Party, said there was "nothing socialist about knowing that you were going to make the people you cared about the poorer".

The Birmingham Yardley MP said she thought Mr Corbyn would "come to the conclusion himself" that he was not cut out for the top job. 

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And she jokingly compared her party leader to the knight from Monty Python's Holy Grail, ploughing on despite sustaining progressively more severe wounds.

"I mean, the polling rate is terrible, it would be crass to say anything else. It would be crass of me to say 'he could rally!'. It's like - what's it called? - Monty Python where he's like 'it's only a flesh wound!', it is getting a bit like that," she told an audience at the Institute for Government thinktank.

The Birmingham Yardley MP declined to say when Mr Corbyn ought to depart.

"I'm not going to put a time on it because when is the right time - there isn't a right time, there isn't a wrong time. Also the clouds aren't going to part and something amazing is going to happen that is going to save the left of politics, that isn't how it works and these things are calculated by people with endless different agendas, so I don't know when the time will be," Ms Phillips said.

"At the moment Len (McCluskey's) said 15 months, so I mean he's our boss apparently, so 15 months, is it 12 months? I think it's arbitrary to put a time on it and I think that Jeremy will come to the conclusions by himself. One can only hope, because it would be the ultimately selfish thing to do.

"There would be nothing socialist about knowing that you were going to make the people you cared about the poorer. That would be the ultimate selfish act, to put yourself in front of those people whose voice you amplify would be the ultimate selfish act and he's a socialist, so he won't do that."


Her comments came as the Islington North MP launched into the media's coverage of his performance, claiming reporters were deliberately ignoring the work Labour frontbenchers are doing.

In an interview with ITV following the launch of Labour's local election campaign, Mr Corbyn furiously interrupted a question as to whether he should stand aside, saying: "You're obsessed with this question, utterly obsessed with it."

He added: "We have a strong opposition in this country if you bothered to report what we were doing.”

And he fumed: "If you bothered to report what [Health Secretary] Jon Ashworth is doing on the health service, if you bothered to report what [Shadow Education Secretary] Angela Rayner is doing and saying on schools, if you bothered to report what the Labour Party is actually saying.

"It's your responsibility to make sure the opposition voice is heard as well as the Government's voice. It's your failings."