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Webchat with Labour leadership contender Jess Phillips MP on Monday January 20 at 1pm

246 replies

BojanaMumsnet · 17/01/2020 09:10


We’re pleased to announce a webchat with Labour leadership contender Jess Phillips MP on Monday 20 January at 1pm.

Jess Phillips is Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley. Prior to being elected she worked for Women’s Aid, supporting victims of domestic violence. Her campaign says she is often described as the most “outspoken politician at Westminster”, having led campaigns against school cuts, immigration rights and better funding for women’s refuges.

In advance of her coming in, Jess has asked us to pass on the following: “if you share the aims and values of the Labour Party, you can have a vote on who should be Labour's next Leader if you join the Party by 5pm on Monday 20 January. You can join here and if you do it by 5pm on Monday you WILL have a vote in the contest. Find out more here.”

Please do join the chat on Monday at 1pm or if you can’t make it, leave a question here in advance.

We've invited and are hoping to have all of the contenders on over the next few weeks.

As always, please remember our webchat guidelines - one question per user, follow-ups only if there’s time and most questions have been answered, and please keep it civil. Also if one topic is dominating a thread, mods might request that people don't continue to post what's effectively the same question or point. (And we’ll suspend the accounts of anyone who continues after we've posted to ask people to stop, so please take note.) Rest assured we will ALWAYS let the guest know that it's an area of concern to multiple users and will encourage them to engage with those questions.

Many thanks,

Webchat with Labour leadership contender Jess Phillips MP on Monday January 20 at 1pm
JustineMumsnet · 20/01/2020 13:01

Hi all, Jess is in the building and just about ready to go...

JessPhillipsMP · 20/01/2020 13:03

Hello! Thanks for having me. I want it noted for the record that I say 'mom'. So hello Momsnet!

Experts' posts:
JessPhillipsMP · 20/01/2020 13:03


What would be your top three issues to address should you become Labour leader, and how would you look to fix these issues?

The thing I would prioritise is services that genuinely care for people's families - we need to get back to an idea that governments should be there to help people from cradle to grave. And so, issues like childcare, social care and the future of our planet are the things that I would prioritise. I would fix these issues by having an honest conversation about what needs to be done - in the manifesto we made a million promises but not arguments. To actually deliver these things we will face challenge, but that's ok. We've got to start being honest about what it takes to deliver services that change people's lives.
Experts' posts:
StealthPolarBear · 20/01/2020 13:04

Hello :)

MrsToddsShortcut · 20/01/2020 13:04

Hi Jess, thanks for doing this Smile

WellErrr · 20/01/2020 13:06

Checking in

theunknownknown · 20/01/2020 13:09

I find the comments you made re Keir Starmer passing the mic patronising and insulting. It suggests that a woman cannot 'win' this contest on their own merits.
Frankly, I don't want a woman LotLP for the sake of it it. I want the person best placed to put Labour back in to a position where it can defeat a craven, racist tory party.

JessPhillipsMP · 20/01/2020 13:10


Hi Jess - thanks so much for coming on here. I think you're great and really loved what you said yesterday about the hustings and how you're going to say what you think from now on.

With that in mind can you tell us what you really think about Rebecca Long-Bailey's abortion comments? I know she's rowed back on her comments, but I'm terrified of having anyone leading the Labour Party who's even thinking about putting further restrictions on a woman's right to choose. Can you reassure me that if you do win (or even if you don't) you'll do everything you can to make sure these views don't become policy?

I don’t agree with her position. I think the decisions about abortion should only ever be made between the woman and her clinician, who should only ever act not on opinion but what is best for the health of the woman. For this reason abortion legislation in this country should be removed from criminal justice laws and placed firmly within the Department of Health. Individual MP's opinions on this matter should bow to medical evidence.
Experts' posts:
blueskiesbrighteyes · 20/01/2020 13:10

This reply has been deleted

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

JessPhillipsMP · 20/01/2020 13:12


Hi Jess

I’m a big fan, have been since you entered Parliament.

You seemed to touch the ‘third rail’ a couple of weeks ago when you said you’d like to return to the EU. Then it felt like you had to row back hard.

Is this an issue where ‘speaking truth’ is something you can’t do? Is building a reputation for unalloyed honesty a strategic mis-step if running for major office?

I answered a question honestly - nobody knows what the future holds. We haven't even left the European Union yet. We have no idea what is going to happen or if anything that we were promised will come to pass. Our job now is to focus on making sure every promise is delivered and every lie highlighted.

In answer to the question about speaking truths, you're right, it might take a while for people to get used to it. But no one can honestly answer a question about a set of hypotheticals in a hypothetical future truly honestly. As Prime Minister it is your job to look at what is best for the country at any given time and make difficult decisions and hard arguments. On literally everything. Not just Brexit.
Experts' posts:
JessPhillipsMP · 20/01/2020 13:13


Do you think that it's better to have policies that are really radical but won't get the party elected or have policies that do help people and are likely to not put the electorate off?

I don't think the two things are mutually exclusive. It would be radical if everybody had a decent home, a safe street and a good school in every area. That would radically change the country and it is also what people want but you can definitely win, no matter where people come from, with radical proposals for things like social care free at the point of delivery. I guess it depends on your idea of what is radical.
Experts' posts:
JessPhillipsMP · 20/01/2020 13:14


Out of the five candidates for Labour leadership, who do you think has the most convincing working-class credentials?

It's an impossible test. We all have different life experiences. I find trying to prove where you come from as if that is all that matters to the voters a bit patronising. I think it's what you do and how you live now that matters and are you in touch now with the country and what people talk about.
Experts' posts:
JessPhillipsMP · 20/01/2020 13:19


Jess, I’ve voted Labour all my life (even in the most recent election). I’ve held my nose and voted Labour despite the misogyny of Momentum and the insidious anti-Semitism.

Why should I continue to have to hold my nose? What will you - or ANY. Leader of the Labour Party do - to rid the party of sexism and racism?

I think that things have been really hard and I have consistently not just spoken out about it but tried to make structural changes that improve the complaints process in the Labour Party in cases of sexual harassment bullying and anti semitism. I’m afraid I’m not sure that much has improved. The Labour Party needs not just a systematic change in how we handle complaints and the speed with which we handle them, we need a cultural change. That makes people feel ashamed if they perpetrate misogynistic behaviour or racist behaviour in any Labour party meeting or online. Any leader will actually have to be tough not just say the right things but actually do something.
Experts' posts:
TresDesolee · 20/01/2020 13:20

‘ But no one can honestly answer a question about a set of hypotheticals in a hypothetical future truly honestly.’ - true Grin

Good luck - I’ll be voting for you and Lisa Nandy (with a Starmer chaser if necessary)

JessPhillipsMP · 20/01/2020 13:22


Hello, Jess. If elected as party leader, would you follow Neil Kinnock's example a generation ago and get rid of Momentum as he got Militant Tendency out of Labour? I don't believe a party within a party is acceptable and the influence of Momentum goes a long way to explain why so many people currently find Labour unelectable.

Lots of you have asked about the hard left. I also agree that a party within a party is unsustainable. It is exclusive in a movement that is all about inclusivity. Would I get rid of Momentum? I get asked that a lot. The answer is… there are some brilliant Momentum activists in my constituency who are just interested in getting a Labour government. So a blanket approach is inappropriate. However, if there is evidence that any group in the Labour party is organising without inviting anyone who wished to be a member in, or are operating an organisation that is more interested in controlling the party than getting Labour into power then any leader would have to act. If everyone is pulling together in the same direction, then groupings within the party will have the same aim and there should be no problems. Anyone from any group who bullies, harrasses, is racist or stops the functioning of any Labour meeting through malice, would have no place in the Labour party.
Experts' posts:
JessPhillipsMP · 20/01/2020 13:22


I find the comments you made re Keir Starmer passing the mic patronising and insulting. It suggests that a woman cannot 'win' this contest on their own merits.
Frankly, I don't want a woman LotLP for the sake of it it. I want the person best placed to put Labour back in to a position where it can defeat a craven, racist tory party.

Fair, I want to beat the tory party too. I think we need the best person to do that. I actually didn't say that Keir Starmer should pass the mic. I said that if he is the best person for the job, he should get it. I really believe that. I do, however, think in society that it is harder for women to rise to the top. We do not live in a meritocracy, equality is something that has to be struggled for by everybody.
Experts' posts:
Doobydoo · 20/01/2020 13:22

Sorry..but why 'Mom?'

StealthPolarBear · 20/01/2020 13:23

Brummies doobydoo. That's what they dooby-doo :)

bellinisurge · 20/01/2020 13:23

@Doobydoo it's a MIdlands thing. And she is from the Midlands.

Doobydoo · 20/01/2020 13:24

Thanks Stealth..Smile

Doobydoo · 20/01/2020 13:26

Won't derail anymore but I live in the Midlands and never heard that..will go with Stealth's answer...and I won't interrupt anymore!

JessPhillipsMP · 20/01/2020 13:27


Do you believe transwomen are women and do you support self-ID?

Many of you have asked about the GRA and gender self ID.
The heat in this conversation has been damaging for progress. As a women's rights activist for my entire life, the importance of women being able to organise collectively is a cornerstone and should be protected. I do believe transwomen are women and helped to write the report that suggested changes to the GRA because fundamentally, during that enquiry, I couldn't understand how asking someone to live in a role as one sex or another would actually happen. It seemed bound entirely in 1950s perceptions of men and women. I think it needs reforming. I don't think it is transphobic for, in the process of changing the GRA in the future, for questions of safety to be considered. Women's only spaces are vital in protecting women and helping women escape violence. I ran a women's domestic and sexual violence service and am confident in specialist services being able to risk assess for safety. In that service, we had a small number of transwomen in my time there and they did not pose a risk. Everyone in service was risk assessed on their relative risk.

I have never met a transperson who didn't want me to talk about my periods or my womb. No one has ever said that they didn't want me to say it. But because people are worried about the fight, and big companies react in a kneejerk way thinking that they are being inclusive but without talking to the people affected and understanding the consequences.
Experts' posts:
Oblahdeeoblahdoe · 20/01/2020 13:27

It's a Brummie thing, Doobydoo Don't ask me why, I've always said/written it

StealthPolarBear · 20/01/2020 13:29

You're confident in their risk assessment every time?
And you don't think even if they pose no risk, they may cause distress to women who have been abused or attached by men?

JessPhillipsMP · 20/01/2020 13:30


Hi Jess. Thank you for being a long term campaigner for women who have suffered domestic abuse.

How do you reconcile this with your recently stated position on Twitter that the Spousal Exit Clause (often misnamed as the Spousal Veto) in the Gender Recognition Act is "awful". This clause exists purely to enable spouses to exit a marriage before the terms of it entirely change.

Would you be willing to discuss this issue further with women who have been in this position (trans widows)?

[Post edited by MNHQ at user's request. This question was originally asked by TinselAngel and is posted on her behalf]

We need no-fault divorces in the law for all sorts of reasons but this is certainly one of them. It feels wrong for a marriage to be used against somebody. I can't imagine living with a law that meant my husband had a say over what I did with my body. Of course in most situations, and what you would hope to see, is that in a marriage consent is mutual. But I do know that is wishful thinking perhaps so we have to make sure that we get this right and listen to all parties.
Experts' posts:
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