Jess Phillips

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Person.png Jess Phillips   Powerbase Twitter WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Jess Phillips.jpg
"My red line is the antisemitism"
BornJessica Rose Trainor
9 October 1981
Member ofLabour Friends of Israel
Labour leadership: "Gobby Phillips has zero chance"

Employment.png Shadow Home Office Minister

In office
9 April 2020 - Present

Jess Phillips (born 9 October 1981) is a British Labour Party politician who became the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Birmingham Yardley in the 2015 General Election, and was re-elected in June 2017. She is chair of the Women's Parliamentary Labour Party (WPLP)[1] and a member of Labour Friends of Israel.

Jess Phillips was standing as a candidate in the 2020 Labour Party leadership contest,[2] but without any nominations from trade unions, affiliate bodies or local parties she withdrew from the contest on 21 January 2020.[3]

In May 2024, journalist and activist Jody McIntyre announced he would stand to be elected as MP for Birmingham Yardley to replace Labour Friend of Israel and current MP, Jess Phillips. [4]

Shadow Minister

On 9 April 2020, Jess Phillips was appointed Shadow Home Office Minister, focusing on domestic violence and safeguarding, by new Leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer.[5] @WarmongerHodges tweeted:

"Congratulations to Stephen Kinnock and Jess Phillips on their well-deserved promotions to Keir Starmer's 'unity' Shadow Cabinet.
"Who can forget the joy on Stephen's face in 2017 when Labour gained 3.5m votes? Or the devastation on Jess' face in 2019 when Labour lost 2.5m votes?"[6]

Overthrowing Jeremy Corbyn

Jess Phillips reported to Owen Jones in December 2015 that she had told Jeremy Corbyn and his staff "to their faces: 'The day that ... you are hurting us more than you are helping us, I won't knife you in the back, I'll knife you in the front', if it looked as though he was damaging Labour's chances of winning the next general election."[7]

Responding to criticism about her use of language, Phillips said on Twitter:

"I am no more going to actually knife Jeremy Corbyn than I am actually a breath of fresh air, or a pain in the arse".[8]

Antisemitism red line

On 21 February 2019, Jess Phillips stated that "My red line is the antisemitism. I think that there is an opportunity for Jeremy Corbyn to really comment very very strongly and say things like… what happened with the Labour Party students this week when they put "Palestine Lives" at the announcement of Joan Ryan leaving, that that is antisemitic and it has to stop." Jewish Voice for Labour noted that:

"Joan Ryan is a non-Jewish MP whose activities as chair of Labour Friends of Israel have pitted her repeatedly against supporters of justice for Palestine…Yoking her resignation with the slogan “Palestine Lives” seems entirely justifiable and carries no hint of hostility towards Jews. The fact that the tweet seems to have been removed is a reflection of the gagging of pro-Palestinian voices that Ryan and her allies promote.[9]

Establishment Pick

Following an interview in The Times of 6 March 2019 titled "Jess Phillips: ‘I think I’d be a good prime minister’",[10]Kit Knightly wrote in the Off-Guardian on 10 March 2019 that Phillips was the "Establishment Pick to Replace Corbyn", citing apparently choreographed support from former Labour Foreign Secretary David Miliband, zionist journalist Jonathan Freedland, Tory MP Nick Boles, The Guardian and The Independent with the headline:

“Only Jess Phillips can save the Labour Party – Corbyn would be mad to let her go”[11]

Commentator Linda Vaux was not impressed:

"The establishment can ‘pick’ whoever the hell they like. Fortunately they have no say whatever in the choice of Leader of the Labour Party, and the majority of those who do, ie: Labour members, will make sure gobby Phillips has zero chance of being chosen. Ever."[12]

Defeating the Lib Dems

Jess Phillips was selected to contest Birmingham Yardley in June 2013, a constituency at the time represented by John Hemming of the Liberal Democrats who at the 2010 election held the seat with a 3,002 majority.[13] For the 2015 General Election, Labour required a swing of 3.7% to take the seat,[14] and after a swing of 11.7% Phillips achieved a majority of 6,595 or 16% of votes cast.[15][16] She made her maiden speech on 28 May 2015, highlighting the issue of homelessness.[17]

In the 2015 Labour leadership election, Phillips nominated Yvette Cooper for leader and Tom Watson for Deputy Leader.[18][19]

Jess Phillips was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Lucy Powell, then Shadow Education Secretary, in September 2015.[20]

Clash with Diane Abbott

Jess Phillips verbally clashed with fellow MP Diane Abbott on 14 September 2015 over the gender composition of Jeremy Corbyn's first Shadow Cabinet. After she asked Corbyn why he had failed to appoint a woman to shadow the great offices of state, Abbott accused her of being "sanctimonious" and pointed out that Phillips was "not the only feminist in the Parliamentary Labour Party". Corbyn did not intervene.[21] Owen Bennett wrote in The Huffington Post that Phillips recounted: "'I roundly told her to fuck off.' When asked what Ms Abbott did after that suggestion, Ms Phillips replied: 'She fucked off'."[22]


In October 2015, Jess Phillips caused controversy by mocking Philip Davies MP for trying to get a debate about International Men's Day.[23] Phillips said "You’ll have to excuse me for laughing. As the only woman on this committee, it seems like every day to me is International Men’s Day."[24][25][26] Following her objections, Phillips was subjected to rape threats on social media.[27][28] Phillips said she did not attend the debate in November to avoid her clash with Davies becoming the dominant issue.[29]

"I wouldn’t even rape you"

UKIP European parliamentary candidate for SouthWest England, Carl Benjamin took to Twitter in 2016 to tell Jess Phillips, "I wouldn’t even rape you", after she complained about a rise in rape threats on social media.[30]

Launching UKIP's European elections at a press conference on 18 April 2019, Carl Benjamin blasted journalists quizzing him on the controversial post:

"I said ‘I wouldn’t even...’. That’s not a threat, it’s actually just offensive," he told reporters.
“I’m not going to be apologising for my crimes against political correctness. I hate political correctness."

The video blogger added:

“I didn’t think there’s any difference in how you should treat [a man or a woman], unlike The Establishment, unlike our judges - who literally say:
'if you were a man I would send you to jail'."
“If a woman is being a giant bitch and laughing about male suicide I’m going to be a giant dick back to her. Any questions?”

It is unclear what comments about male suicide he was referring to.

Gerard Batten was meanwhile quizzed by Channel 4 News on whether he was willing to be associated with such remarks.

The UKIP leader replied:

“These gentlemen are free speech merchants. They’ve been comedy acts… If they make jokes as part of their act - I’m not condoning any jokes - but this is what they are. Do you realise how few people watch Channel 4?.. You are an endless stream of left-wing political correctness."

As BBC News pressed the question, Batten replied:

“That’s all you want to talk about? Our country’s future is on the line [and it's] all you can talk about, and the vast mass of people out there couldn’t care less.”

Responding the latest remarks on Twitter, Jess Philips, the MP for Birmingham Yardley said:

"Carl Benjamin will forever have whatever career he has defined by me, he will hear my name wherever he goes. His whole political life defined by little feminist Jess, that my friends is comedy."[31]


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Letter to Sir Keir from a newly resigned member of the Labour PartyLetter8 April 2020Bronagh WilsonThe Labour Party is now dead, it has ceased to be, it is bereft of life. You Sir Keir and your fellow travellers disgust me and it is time you PASOKed right off!.
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  1. "Labour's female MPs vow to use Commons strength to improve lives of women"
  2. "Labour leadership: Phillips and Nandy secure nominations"
  3. "Labour leadership: Jess Phillips quits race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn"
  4. "Get Jody McIntyre elected for Birmingham Yardley"
  5. "Jess Phillips handed Labour frontbench role as Sir Keir Starmer unveils full shadow cabinet"
  6. "Congratulations to Stephen Kinnock and Jess Phillips on their well-deserved promotions to Keir Starmer's 'unity' Shadow Cabinet"
  8. "I would knife Jeremy Corbyn in the front not the back" Owen Jones meets Jess Phillips
  9. "Watch Jess Phillips MP make the most ludicrous accusation of antisemitism to date"
  10. "Jess Phillips: ‘I think I’d be a good prime minister’"
  11. "Jess Phillips Emerges as Establishment Pick to Replace Corbyn"
  12. "Commentator Linda Vaux was not impressed"
  30. "Ukip leader says ‘wouldn’t rape MP’ comment was ‘just a Twitter exchange’"
  31. "Ukip candidate brands Labour MP Jess Phillips a 'b*tch' and doubles down on rape comments at chaotic campaign launch"
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