Jess Phillips suggests she could quit Labour party if Jeremy Corbyn remains leader

Posted On: 
16th August 2016

Labour MP Jess Phillips has said she could resign from the party if Jeremy Corbyn wins the Labour leadership contest.

Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips
Credit: 
PA Images

The outspoken backbencher said unless there is a dramatic change in the atmosphere surrounding the party she cannot foresee staying “somewhere where I am so obviously not welcome”.

Ms Phillips also accused the Labour leadership of “empty rhetoric” in confronting online abuse experienced by many of its MPs.

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When asked whether she was considering standing as an independent, Ms Phillips told Radio 4's World at One: “I think at the moment we’ve just got to focus on how we’re going to get through this. But the Labour party is in a very difficult position at the moment with a lot of abuse being thrown around.

“It would be very, very difficult for me to say that if Jeremy Corbyn wins and something doesn’t dramatically change in the way that people are being treated online, in the streets, our security, I can’t imagine why I would want to stay somewhere where I am so obviously not welcome.”

She said quitting Labour would be “horrific”, but said she no longer felt welcome by “huge swathes of people” now in the party.

Ms Phillips last week accused Mr Corbyn of ignoring her attempts to discuss concerns over female representation in the mayoral races across England.

She has also previously called on Mr Corbyn to take more action to condemn abuse of Labour MPs.

And in an apparent swipe at Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, she also accused the party's leadership of "inciting" intimidation of MPs opposed to Mr Corbyn.

“I’d like to see them calling it out," she said. "I’d like to see them putting policies in place that mean that when this does happen that something is done about it, that is taken seriously.

"I’d like to see them not inciting it, I’d like to see them not standing on platforms and encouraging the sort of  action where crowds of people turn up outside MPs’ offices and stop what is actually our job.”

Mr Corbyn has previously stressed abuse has no place in the Labour party.

In July, 45 female Labour MPs - including Ms Phillips - urged him to do more to counter the “disgusting and totally unacceptable” abuse, which has "disproportionately affected” women MPs.

In the wake of Labour MP Jo Cox’s murder in July, Ms Phillips said she has installed a panic room in her office, carries a recording device for personal safety and has had her windows and doors at her home reinforced.

Mr Corbyn is vying to retain the leadership of the party with Owen Smith.

The winner will be announced on 24 September.