Labour hopeful Jess Phillips swipes that favourite Keir Starmer should ‘pass the mic’ and quit leadership battle so a woman can win
- Labour leadership struggle is heating up as hustings events start taking place
- Jess Phillips suggest men should ‘pass the mic’ and let a women become leader
- Favourite Sir Keir Starmer is the only man left in the five-strong field for top job
The Labour leadership battle ramped up today as Jess Phillips suggested favourite Keir Starmer should quit so a woman can win.
Ms Phillips acknowledged it was ‘very difficult’ for people to stand back from the contest, but warned it would be ’embarrassing’ if the party elected another man to its top job.
In an apparent message to Sir Keir – the only man left in the contest – she said: ‘I think that if you truly believe in women’s representation, sometimes… passing the mic is the greatest way to show that you truly believe in something.’
The jibe came as the battle to succeed Jeremy Corbyn entered a new phase, with candidates facing off at hustings events.
Polls have indicated that Sir Keir is in pole position to win, ahead of closest rival Rebecca Long-Bailey – seen as the hard-Left’s hope.
The Labour leadership battle ramped up today as Jess Phillips suggested favourite Keir Starmer (pictured at hustings yesterday) should quit so a woman can win
Interviewed on Sky News, Ms Phillips acknowledged it was ‘very difficult’ for people to stand back from the contest, but warned it would be ’embarrassing’ if the party elected another man to its top job
However, there is still a long way to go until the result is declared in April.
At the first grilling by activists in Liverpool yesterday, Birmingham Yardley MP Ms Phillips took a swipe at some her fellow contenders for ‘keeping quiet’ over anti-Semitism in the party.
Meanwhile, Ms Long-Bailey scolded members who brand Corbynism a ‘cult’ as she burnished her credentials as the continuity candidate.
Interviewed on Sky News, Ms Phillips said the Labour Party had a ‘blind spot’ over promoting women.
On the issue of what would happen if another man is elected, she said: ”I think it will be embarrassing and what’s more, it gives absolute grist to the mill and ammunition to our other side…
‘It’s not great if we can’t ever seem to think that the women are good enough. When you’re a woman in politics you’re always the next time – oh it’ll be your turn next time.
‘When you’re a woman in politics it’s always, we’re always told we have to pick the best person for the job as if that best person – they never mean the best person, they often mean the best man and that is disappointing.’
While suggesting that supporters of ‘women’s representation’ should be willing to ‘pass the mic’, she acknowledged: ‘I think it is a very, very difficult argument to say you should stand back if you truly believe you are the best person for the job.’
The battle to succeed Jeremy Corbyn has entered a new phase, with the first hustings in Liverpool yesterday. Pictured are (left to right) Rebecca Long-Bailey, Jess Phillips, Emily Thornberry, Lisa Nandy and Sir Keir