January 17, 2020
Jess Phillips has proudly christened herself the “gobby cow” candidate fighting the race to be Labour leader. 
Jess Phillips Interview: As Labour Leader, I Will Never Live In A Bunker. I Relish Rebellion
Her campaign tagline might seem a bit in-your-face, but the campaigning Birmingham MP – who, when asked about her rivals for the top job, pointedly encourages them to “be interesting” – knows her audience and is winking at them.
Whether it’s how she has battled Brexit, for new domestic violence laws, school cuts or Jeremy Corbyn’s perceived failures on anti-Semitism, the party’s moderates are buoyed by Phillips precisely because she refuses to be silent and compliant. 
The former business manager for Women’s Aid has a big personality and it has seen her amass a 355,000 Twitter following that puts her competitors’ social media game to shame.
Yet despite some 14,000 new members signing up since the election, the Labour Party is still dominated by Jeremy Corbyn loyalists. Phillips has yet to secure union backing, although she is confident of reaching the next round with members’ backing, and faces an uphill struggle against left-wing frontrunners Rebecca Long-Bailey and Keir Starmer. 
The 38-year-old would admit flying the flag for the party’s out-of-vogue moderates – but, like so many others in Labour, she’s weary of labels. 
“The strategy is genuinely to disavow the members of some of the things that they think about me,” Phillips told HuffPost UK after speaking at a rally in Bermondsey’s Ministry of Sound.
“Some of the rhetoric that you read about me is that I’m some sort of devil, the ultimate right-winger. 
“People think the membership will hate me but that’s never been my experience.
“The strategy is to get out and impress people. That should be everyone’s strategy: be interesting.” 
Her fear is that after Labour’s worst drubbing since 1935, the party’s biggest threat is not merely fresh defeats but complete oblivion. 
“I am able to speak to the country and can stop the Labour Party from slipping into irrelevance, because right now that is a real, real risk,” she said. 
“The parliamentary pantomime is over. Nobody will be watching. 
“We will only have a few seconds each day to reach people. 
“From the back benches, I have managed to change the law. I have managed to frighten the Conservatives and I’ve managed to get the country to listen to me, so just imagine what I could do from the front bench.” 
While the Tories have had two female leaders, the party which claims to champion equality has failed to elect a woman to the top job in its entire 120-year history. 
“Of course a female Labour leader would be symbolic,” she said. “And it’s not even so much the symbolism as that a lot of women in the Labour Party – and men, actually, it is often men who make this argument to me – think that it would end the embarrassment.” The parliamentary pantomime is over. Nobody will be watching. We will only have a few seconds each day to reach people.Should Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary and current favourite, have declined to stand? 
“I’m not going to say that Keir Starmer should sit this one out but the idea that we have one man and four women – well, you would have to ask him how he thinks that looks,” she said. 
Her case is that a “Miliband 2.0” leader would be just as disastrous as “continuity Corbyn”. She supports some radical policies, such as rail nationalisation, but feels the party needs to take a mainstream approach to the economy if it stands any chance of regaining its credibility.
“We have to make an economic case that can reach people, that is about people’s lives and is about the fact that if we want good dignified decent public services that they have to be paid for,” she said. “Do you know what? That is not a difficult case to make because everybody in the country already knows it.”
One of four siblings, Phillips’ father was a teacher and her mum was deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation. 
“My upbringing was alright. I don’t feel the need to pretend I lived in a grit pit in the middle of the road,” she said, in a thinly veiled swipe at fellow candidates who frequently underline the working class elements of their background. 
“Sometimes we didn’t have enough, we sometimes did. I don’t want to paint some sort of picture as if it was terribly challenging. And I think it’s so patronising the way that has been done.” 
While her family were all involved in Labour – “I went to women’s liberation playgroup; we were part of every pressure group going” – Phillips didn’t enter  politics straightaway. She first had two children, experienced life on benefits and cared for her dying mother.Meghan Markle has ‘absolutely suffered racism’Commenting on the burning issue of the day, the Labour leadership contender said the Duchess of Sussex, who with her husband Prince Harry decided to step down as a senior Royal, has been the victim of racism in the press. 
“She has absolutely suffered racism,” says Phillips. “It’s very difficult for people to understand a thing that isn’t overt racism.
“But there is overt sexism and there is overt racism and it’s xenophobia as well. Because it’s not just ‘is she a black woman’, she’s not British. 
“She’s ‘a foreigner’, she’s ‘a foreigner she thinks she can come here and tell us’. So there’s a level of xenophobia in it as well as racism.
“I imagine it was an incredibly difficult decision but I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and I wish them well.” Although she has never held a front bench role, Phillips resents the argument that she lacks experience. 
“I bet you Boris Johnson or Chris Grayling never had to answer this question,” she said.
“What experience did Boris Johnson have to run a transport system in London, writing column inches?
“I ran a multi-million pound service [Women’s Aid] that had contracts with four or five large government departments.
“I find it really, really frustrating that you can run an enormous charity that helps thousands of people and it’s not considered to be experience.” 
Some would argue telling BBC’s Andrew Marr that she was open to the UK rejoining the EU in the future was a telling misstep of her lack of political experience. 
“It’s not like I had some sort of ‘jessforrejoin.com’ or that I had any plans to rejoin now,” she said. “What I said was that any PM who didn’t look at all the alliances that might be best for the country is not good leadership.“At the moment we have to rule it out because there is no opportunity for it, no matter how much people might want it. We’re going to leave the European Union.” 
Phillips is quick to distance herself from Remain figures such as Emily Thornberry, who have faced claims of sneering at Leave voters and being too London-centric. 
“The [People’s Vote campaign] should have been much more inclusive of Leave voters and it was just a sort of Remain campaign,” she says. 
“But I stood in front of a million people on the People’s Vote March and I said: ‘Never ever anyone say that people where I live are stupid and don’t want exactly the same things that everybody in the crowd [does].’”
Phillips credits Corbyn for returning Labour’s “clear purpose and conviction” and insists she would build a shadow cabinet filled with talent from all wings of the party. 
“I think my leadership will be strong and certain and clear, while at the same time being open to dissent,” she says. 
“I will never live in a bunker. I will always, if people have something to say and even if I don’t agree with them, give people a fair hearing. 
“I relish rebellion and dissent and I think you have to listen to it. I’m not going to be the draconian ‘you don’t agree with me and you’re out’.”  
Phillips would immediately expel anti-Semites, she says. 
“The truth is that I don’t think that we can get over any hurdle until we reform our credibility and the place that we had as a party of equality and diversity,” she said.
“I don’t think we meet the test of being able to talk to the country until we get our own house in order first. It has to be the first priority.” 
The crunch moment may come when the Equality and Human Rights Commission delivers its judgement on whether Labour is institutionally anti-Semitic.  Make sense of politics. Sign up to the Waugh Zone and get the political day in a nutshell.
Could Phillips throw Corbyn out of the party he currently leads? 
“It’s [the EHRC judgement] going to be a real reckoning for the Labour Party and there will be a huge amount of fallout,” she said. “But, look, I’m not in the business of scalping people.” 
Instead, Phillips would make it her mission to win back Jewish people such as Luciana Berger and Louise Ellman, who deserted the party over the issue. 
“Luciana Berger is the test I set myself,” she says.
The Labour Party would become a very different beast under Jess Phillips, with the 38-year-old saying it would be open to figures who left such as Chuka Umunna and Gavin Shuker and even Tories.
“It’s an age-old principle, isn’t it, that people cross the floor,” she said. “It isn’t just the liberals, either. People cross the floor Conservative to Labour, and Labour to Conservative.
“I think that we shouldn’t be exclusive. We should welcome people.
“It wouldn’t be my aim to try and pull those [Umunna and others] people back right now. You’ve got to think about the future. But would you refuse them? No.” The Blairite tag is not something she recoils from. Asked which Labour leader she most admires, she claims Tony Blair “won the most elections”, though as head of a minority government that mantle is Harold Wilson’s, but settles on Clement Attlee. 
“If you who grew up with the labour movement, like I did, you never ever get over the strides that the Attlee government made,” she said. “Look at the difference. Our country is radically different today because of that government.” 
Phillips stresses that she would not have refused to serve Corbyn, in comments which hint at her ambitions besides the leadership. 
“Had it been a job where I thought that I could genuinely use my voice to make a difference, like if Jeremy Corbyn had asked me to lead on domestic abuse or home affairs with regards to city-based gang violence, then, of course, I would have accepted,” she said.
Phillips is keen for the party to focus on winning again and thinks that Boris Johnson is beatable.
“Boris Johnson likes to win and we shouldn’t underestimate that or think that winning is a bad thing. 
“He will do whatever he can to keep the seats that he has won. 
“Boris Johnson is Boris Johnson’s biggest weakness. I think that the country knows that Boris Johnson is a liar and it is baked into the equation. 
“But he definitely has huge weaknesses, not just with details but with his bluster. People will see through the schtick. 
“I think when he is up against genuine real life experience and an actual opposition that looks different to him, he will look very uncomfortable.”Related... Why The Labour Leadership Race Just Got Very Interesting Jeremy Corbyn Slams 'Racial Undertone' Of Meghan Media Coverage Rebecca Long-Bailey Leading Labour Leadership Race - Poll
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Israel at War

Israel has entered its fourth week of war against Hamas after the group infiltrated the country on October 7.

Israel conducted its most intense ground operation in Gaza overnight, attacking about 150 underground targets, according to IDF.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Media
Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
READ MORE
Watch It
Timothée Chalamet Addresses Date Night With Kylie Jenner at Beyoncé’s Concert | E! News
December 20, 2023
B3z63vdSZ6Q
How Cher REALLY Feels About Kelly Clarkson’s Cover of Her Song | E! News
December 20, 2023
kf7fwJHnaxU
Ryan Gosling Drops NEW Holiday Version of ‘I’m Just Ken' | E! News
December 20, 2023
FsBATnrFv6w
The Top 10 TV Shows of All Time | Variety
December 20, 2023
mwZnVmsQNAs
Ava DuVernay & Michael Mann l Directors on Directors
December 19, 2023
qBRTngfdqZ8
Ari Aster & Yorgos Lanthimos l Directors on Directors
December 18, 2023
BXYD3UISwCs
2023's Top TMZ Sports Interviews: Shaq, Gronk, Tyson, Derulo & More! | TMZ Sports Full Ep - 12/25/23
December 20, 2023
LuSEtAJ1Dms
Aaron Rodgers' Season Over and Lakers' Unique Banner Celebration! | TMZ Sports Full Ep - 12/19/23
December 20, 2023
_SZM5laBY1I
#SelenaGomez is standing by her man, #BennyBlanco, amid backlash from fans over their relationship
December 20, 2023
3OAOi6VvLnQ
Inside Brad Pitt’s whirlwind 60th birthday weekend with Ines de Ramon: Romantic Paris to festive LA
December 20, 2023
o9clvkwWVPI
Inside Brad Pitt’s whirlwind 60th birthday weekend with Ines de Ramon: Romantic Paris to festive LA
December 20, 2023
inNYH5LILUM
When Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce would likely get engaged, according to NFL WAG Hannah Ann Sluss
December 20, 2023
kFWOyZlTJFc
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
Latest Events
02
Jan
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Alaves
02
Jan
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Rayo Vallecano
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Newcastle United
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackburn - Rotherham
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
QPR - Cardiff City
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Middlesbrough - Coventry
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Swansea City - West Bromwich Albion
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Stoke City - Ipswich Town
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Sheffield Wednesday - Hull City
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Norwich City - Southampton
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Leicester City - Huddersfield
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Bristol City - Millwall
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Plymouth - Watford
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Leeds - Birmingham
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Sunderland - Preston NE
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Bournemouth
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Fulham - Arsenal
30
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Roma
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Nottingham Forest - Manchester United
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Luton - Chelsea
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Sheffield United
30
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Sassuolo
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Brentford
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Wolves - Everton
30
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Verona - Salernitana
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Aston Villa - Burnley
30
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Lecce
30
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Bologna
30
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Cagliari - Empoli
29
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Inter Milan
29
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Monza
28
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - West Ham United
28
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brighton - Tottenham Hotspur
27
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Crystal Palace
27
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Manchester City
26
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Aston Villa
26
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Burnley - Liverpool
24
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Wolves - Chelsea
23
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Arsenal
23
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Napoli
23
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Everton
23
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Manchester United
23
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Sevilla
23
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Lecce
23
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Frosinone - Juventus
22
Dec
ITALY: Serie A
Salernitana - AC Milan
21
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Alaves - Real Madrid
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.