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Corbyn is ‘arrogant’ and Labour won’t win next election: Jess Phillips unchained

Corbyn is ‘arrogant’ and Labour won’t win next election: Jess Phillips unchained

🕔07.Mar 2016

Labour has no chance of winning the next General Election and Jeremy Corbyn is “probably very arrogant” and may not even want to be prime minister.

So says Jess Phillips, the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, whose outspoken comments since being elected last year have kept her in the media spotlight and triggered an entertaining Westminster sideshow.

In a candid interview with the Guardian newspaper, Ms Phillips renewed her attack on Mr Corbyn, his advisers and closest political confidantes, accusing them of failing to listen to concern about the party’s lurch to the left. “He and the people around him only seem to hear: ‘You’re amazing – can I have a selfie?’”, she said.

The interview delves into Ms Phillips’ upbringing in Birmingham and her personal life.

We learn that her husband, Tom, a former lift engineer she first knew as a teenager, now works in her constituency office. He has no interest in politics, isn’t a Labour party member, and can’t plan anything “more than three days ahead”.

They have two boys, Harry, 11, and Danny, 7.

Ms Phillips likes trash TV, particularly Tattoo Fixers which features people attempting to get rid of their “dodgy tattoos”. She has several tattoos, some on her stomach and some on her feet, which she plans to show off at Westminster while wearing sandals in the summer.

Ms Phillips is the daughter of a left-wing former English teacher and says her childhood was spent singing The Red Flag and a bit “like growing up with Jeremy Corbyn”, which could explain a lot. Mr Phillips quit Labour in disgust at the party’s drift to the centre ground and has not rejoined. Ms Phillips left Labour in protest at Tony Blair, but signed-up again after the 2010 General Election.

She was given a Labour party membership card for her 14th birthday and spent time leafleting because that was what was expected of her. Despite her parents’ left-wing credo, she attended a grammar school in Birmingham and went on to Leeds University.

Were Labour to win the next election, which of course she knows it will not, Ms Phillips would like to be Home Secretary. She’d also like to do something about “the establishment” staying in the same people’s hands and describes working at Westminster as “like working at Warwick Castle. I should dress as some variety of wench, really. It’s hard not to take the piss out of it.”

Ms Phillips has made a name for herself by speaking out against Labour’s treatment of women. She famously told Diane Abbott to f**k off during an argument about the absence of women in Mr Corbyn’s first shadow cabinet and even called Mr Corbyn a misogynist following a reshuffle which failed to satisfy criticism that women were being overlooked at the top of the party.

She told the Guardian:

The woman thing made me feel as if I’d turned up at my own house to find the locks had been changed and all my stuff was on the drive outside. I’m still cross about it, but I trust the membership to make it right in the long run.

Mr Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell succeeded in “creating a load of junior jobs and giving them to women”, she claimed, before adding: “They didn’t hear our criticisms at all. Our point was that at the party’s decision-making heart there were no women, not even one.”

Asked about the “message coming down from on high” and whether the party leadership is in touch with MPs, Ms Phillips said:

There’s no message coming down at all. I think Jeremy wants to be the leader. If he didn’t, I don’t imagine he would do it. But I’m not sure he wants to be prime minister.

The polls are terrible, aren’t they? But I’d like to hear him raise that. I’d like to hear him say: ‘What are we going to do about them?’ That might give us more confidence that this isn’t just about him and his project, but about the country.

When people say approvingly: ‘He [Corbyn] hasn’t changed his mind,’ I think: ‘Well, there goes a man who’s probably very arrogant.’ It’s like me saying: ‘I’m going to skateboard until I die.’ It’s just ridiculous. Grow up! I want evidence and need to drive our principles, but God forbid that we would ever base anything on evidence.

Asked whether Labour could win the next election, Ms Phillips told the Guardian:

The honest answer is: no, absolutely not.

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