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WEBCHAT GUIDELINES: 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. 5. If one topic or question threatens to overwhelm the webchat, MNHQ will usually ask for people to stop repeating the same question or point.

MNHQ have commented on this thread

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

246 replies

BojanaMumsnet · 17/01/2020 09:10

Hello

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,
MNHQ

Webchat with Labour leadership contender Jess Phillips MP on Monday January 20 at 1pm
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StealthPolarBear · 20/01/2020 13:40

That point wasn't intended to come straight after a mention of Johnson but it fits quite well.

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JessPhillipsMP · 20/01/2020 13:40

@hazeyjane

Hello Jess
I am sorry, my post is long, but my question is brief.
It is long because I am tired and I am quite frankly broken.
My question is "Will you listen to us?"

I have a son with complex needs as a result of a genetic condition and I work as an early years practitioner, mainly with children with additional needs.

It feels as though the last few years has seen an already imperfect system crumbling further, leaving families like mine and those I work with having to fight for support in education and healthcare, for their vulnerable children. These are not parents who are fighting from a position of relative strength, but from a foundation of the exhaustion and fear that often comes with having a child with additional needs, often not able to work full time and whilst trying to ensure their other children are safe and happy.

There is a lack of suitable provision for many, many children like mine and those I work with. Educationally, their needs cannot be fully met in a mainstream education system that claims to promote a model of inclusion, but is unable to - in part due to funding, but also because of an educational culture driven by targets. It is also, and this is something that I don't think was foreseen or even considered when special school closures through a policy of inclusion took place, not an environment that is suited for many children with complex needs which may include.... physical health needs, behavioural difficulties, sensory issues, communication needs, mental and emotional health needs and learning needs which may be average in some areas and delayed in others....often all in one complex and vulnerable child.

Navigating a way through a mainstream system for the child and parents can be a bewildering journey, often resulting in anxiety and school refusal in the child. Parents struggling to work in partnership with schools, who let's face it, have a lot on their plates can often be seen as 'that parent', yet another problem laid at the door of schools and teachers.

My son is in a resource base in a mainstream school - a 'solution' that is often put forward as a bridge between specialist provision and mainstream...in reality I dont believe it is working. Resource bases are often over subscribed with children due to the lack of special school places, staff often don't have enough training, children who struggle with change are expected to endure many changes throughout their school week and day and the culture of the mainstream school management determines the ethos of the resource base.

Within mainstream, TAs are heavily relied on as support for a child who can then become more and more isolated in a class as they, understandably, rely heavily on the adult there to support them. A 1-1 is seen as an all healing balm that will magically provide all the support a complex child needs. They Are Not.

Can you send him to special school?"
It often comes up on threads on mumsnet, and is said by pretty much everyone who we speak to in real life...
Where?
Where are the special schools?
Even where special schools are being expanded (our area is one...yay) they are largely for children with specific needs or for children who have a higher level of learning disability.

Alongside the slow mo car crash of education is a healthcare system that we rely on heavily. In our area, half of this is under Virgincare - long appointment waits, poor communication, being discharged from services we need, equipment and services no longer provided....what services we still get from the NHS are struggling and we have been in some terrifying and frustrating situations in A+E and other services.

It is, in all honesty, a shit show and I am tired and weary of what feels like a constant battle to deal with the simple act of taking my child to school and feeling like he is safe and well supported (I have 2 children in another school with no additional needs and it is like living with a foot on 2 different planets)...and the less simple act of making sure he has joined up healthcare that keeps him well.

I want to know how children like mine, and the families who fight on their behalf, will be helped if Labour get into power with you at the helm, Jess? I ask from a position of relative strength - I have family support, a husband who cares, I can understand the system, write letters, speak up in endless bloody meetings...but I work with families who often do not have these things.

We need more specialist provision across the board.
We need a support system that works in partnership with families
We need a joined up properly funded NHS, with an end to contracting out children's services and social care.
We need someone who will listen to us. Will you listen to us? Please.


Thanks HazeyJane for writing this and I’ve seen that a few of you referencing this post.

As a constituency MP even in the last 5 years I have seen a dramatic increase in the number of parents who face impossibility in getting any service for their children with special educational needs. This is a situation that is definitely worsening with lots and lots of children in inappropriate placements or out of school completely. We cannot have a system where only those that can pay can provide for their children. We absolutely need more specialist provision, a funding model for resources bases within mainstream schools, in my own son’s school I have seen how the SEN funding has not been enough to meet the needs of the children and so the main school budget which is already stretched is stretched even further because of the school’s commitment to ensuring that the resource base remains open. We absolutely do need to look at how our social care system enables families to live full lives no matter their circumstances. We cannot have a system where unpaid care largely done by the nation’s women is the government response to meeting everybody’s needs. When I campaign for proper education funding that means for all children, and often SEN children and their families are forgotten. When we talk about things like the reduction in the number of teaching assistants, I sometimes feel as if the government is scoffing at the need for extra people in the classroom. But for SEN children that service is vital. It’s not an added extra, it’s the core.
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PencilsInSpace · 20/01/2020 13:40

Hi Jess, I haven't asked a question yet, I have a couple of follow up questions to your response:

I couldn't understand how asking someone to live in a role as one sex or another would actually happen.

The panel just ask for 5 or 6 documents in your new name and gender to cover the two year period. Drivers licence, passport etc. but also things like payslips, benefit letters and gas bills can be used. What problem do you see with this?

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.

It's not just about safety though, is it Jess? We also have a right not to be harassed as defined in the EA. That's what the single sex exceptions are for - to prevent harassment. If organisations are not using a single sex exception, what other lawful way are they using to prevent violating women's dignity or creating a creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them?

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FairyLightsAreMyCrack · 20/01/2020 13:41

I ran a human trafficking service for example

Are you referring to when you were a business development manager for a Woman's Aid when you say this, or something else?

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StealthPolarBear · 20/01/2020 13:42

"We cannot have a system where unpaid care largely done by the nation’s women is the government response to meeting everybody’s needs."
Hear hear. The big society was a disaster.

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Miriel · 20/01/2020 13:42

Yes, this is why the Tories will keep winning. Whatever other criticisms can be made of them, at least they don't deny material reality and expect others to do the same. Ordinary working-class people see straight through that, we're not caught up in telling the Emperor how lovely his new clothes are.

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JessPhillipsMP · 20/01/2020 13:44

@Apocketfulofposies

The leadership contenders all seem very keen to distance themselves from London and focus on how important the rest of the country is. Of course the rest of the country is important, but any chance you could stop alienating Londoners? Things are pretty tough here too - you only need to look at property prices and rents, knife crime, school places etc


I think you're right. There is a risk of bashing London when in London levels of poverty, educational needs, housing issues are absolutely acute and not everybody lives in a fancy house and has a fancy life. The reason I think most of the conversation has been about other regions and nations in the country is because the Labour party suffered such a crushing defeat in the Midlands, the North, Scotland and Wales. The exam question is how do we win there again? The answer is not to bash London but it will mean talking about those places.
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Oblahdeeoblahdoe · 20/01/2020 13:44

Oh Jess. I really feel you've blown this self ID issue. I have the upmost respect for transwomen and wish them well but biological women have fought long and hard for everything we have now, I'm sure you would agree, you're one of these women!! I don't have all the answers but one thing I do know that self ID, where MEN can go to women's jails or take part in competetive sport against biologocal women and win gold medals IS NOT ON! Please have a rethink on this and take onboard what women are telling you.
I now need to know what all the candidates say about this issue because I was going to vote for you......

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DodoPatrol · 20/01/2020 13:44

We are SPECIFICALLY talking about women who have been attacked by men, being distressed by having male people in their supposed refuge.

Or, in the case of my child's school, a previously assaulted girl being distressed by the presence of a male teenager in the girls' facilities.

They have nothing against that student except that he is exactly as male as he was last term when the girls would absolutely not have been expected to be cool with bumping into him in the Ladies. This is a six foot bass-voiced teenager, by the way, not a cute androgynous 7 year old.

Will any politician be brave enough to stop sloganning at distressed girls and think for a bit? Transwomen are not actually women in any usual sense. They are transwomen, because they are of the male sex with male bodies.

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peachgreen · 20/01/2020 13:46

Hi Jess. Thanks for doing this. I've already asked my question so hopefully you'll get a chance to answer, but I just wanted to stand up and be counted - despite the louder voices on this thread, not everyone on MN is gender critical and many of us agree with you than transwomen are women, while still believing that it's important and valid to discuss specific instances where same-natal sex spaces may be appropriate.

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bellinisurge · 20/01/2020 13:46

My Remain voting MP won his previously safe Labour seat by the skin of his teeth. This was a Leave stronghold where the Brexit Party took votes off the Tories such that my Labour MP sneaked through.
Do you really think that the voters in my area would be impressed by a leader who didn't seem to know the difference between the word "sex"and the word "gender"?

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JessPhillipsMP · 20/01/2020 13:46

@jakeyboy1

As a Brummie how will you support the midlands and avoid London centric policies? Our public transport is a disgrace and yet BCC are intent on penalising the motorist, this may work in London but we simply do not have the infrastructure here to cope. HS2 is still in debate and wasting time. The new "super hospital" has not been finished. Several schools cutting back to 4.5 day weeks. Subventions for major events for Birmingham which is an event city on which 29,000 jobs depend all but gone (commonwealth aside). I think some attention to the back yard would be in order.


As I've just said, I think we've got to be careful about bashing how great things are in London as for a lot of people that's not the case. However as an MP in the Midlands, I think you have a point that we need to make sure that investment and opportunity is far wider spread throughout our country. We are made to feel apologetic for any infrastructure spending such as HS2 which has, already before it's even been built, changed the opportunities for the kids who live in the Midlands for the better. We must make sure that we have an industrial strategy that truly has everyone in the country at its core. Like an equalities impact assessment it should be put through the rigour of proving how it changes people's lives in not just our biggest cities, but in our towns and in the rural community who are often forgotten and suffer from really poor access to services.
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KettlePolly · 20/01/2020 13:46

On a tangent to lack of care for SEN Lisa Muggeridge's video on mothers gives a sobering perspective into how governments rely on the sex class of women that are mothers to prop up the care economy and safeguarding. I'll pop it on the women's rights chat for anyone interested.

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Casualbride · 20/01/2020 13:47

Yep, lost my vote with the whole being a woman is a feeling thing. Shame because you have some excellent qualities.

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vivariumvivariumsvivaria · 20/01/2020 13:47

Trans women might be women in law and legislation, but, they are not female.

I will vote for anyone who will protect my rights to single sex spaces.

I'm really disappointed that is not you, Jess.

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MrsToddsShortcut · 20/01/2020 13:49

I might be able to help with this.

I was raped at the age of 11 and then again at 19. If I am in any confined spaces with any Males, I experience severe anxiety attacks and feel very unsafe. Yes, it may not be rational, but it is a deep rooted trauma response.

Unfortunately for the majority of transwomen, they very often do 'read' as Male, which I understand is really hard for them- I'm not unsympathetic to that. But that would be one example of 'distressing'. Women exposed to Male violence often can't heal properly around males.

My 13 year old autistic daughter is around other ASD girls a lot. They all talk about asking for blockers as a way of stopping their periods and their bodies changing (because ASD kids can't cope with change/transitions and there is no bigger transition than puberty).

To be clear, she tells me that these girls don't necessarily think they're boys, but have rather perceptively worked out that saying they are trans is a golden ticket to stopping puberty. But they genuinely don't understsnd what they are asking for. Autistic girls are the largest cohort affected by this, and no-one is asking why.

(Btw, I asked Dr James Palmer, who was head of special services for NHS England about this and he couldn't answer me, but just said "....Er...but it's a good thing!".

Autistic girls are being chucked under a very large Tory led austerity bus already and this issue is making their lives worse.

(To be clear, yes, I believe there are a vanishingly small number of kids who might be so dysphoric they need to transition, but this issue with adolescent autistic girls is not the same thing at all)

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JessPhillipsMP · 20/01/2020 13:49

@Miriel

Yes, this is why the Tories will keep winning. Whatever other criticisms can be made of them, at least they don't deny material reality and expect others to do the same. Ordinary working-class people see straight through that, we're not caught up in telling the Emperor how lovely his new clothes are.


Thanks Miriel. I have in the last 5 years knocked thousands and thousands of doors in working class communities across our country. No one has ever mentioned this.
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Michelleoftheresistance · 20/01/2020 13:50

If you go down the route of turning people away for being distressing, I think we'd need to define 'distressing' otherwise people could be turned away for all sorts of things.

You may not know that there is a MNetter who having escaped a violent and abusive marriage has been living rough on the streets for months as there is no refuge available without biological males present, and her trauma from sexual violence prevents her from feeling able to be anywhere in a space with males. Services turned her away if she was not able to share space with males because policy change has removed any facilities formerly available to biological females that were intentionally free from biological males because of their needs .

This excludes some females, who cannot access mixed sex provision.

Are you truly happy to see some females deprived of any services? Is there really no other possible answer, such as providing some mixed sex AND some female only provision?

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hazeyjane · 20/01/2020 13:52

Thankyou, Jess for a dressing my question.

I would just like to reiterate the fact that TAs and extra adults are not always the answer - in fact they can
a) mask the problem
b) make issues worse due to poor (or no) training and isolation for the child.

I know inclusion is a popular and incredibly important concept. But it is failing....and in its failure, children are suffering. We need more specialist provision, rather than trying to try to re shape a child to fit into a mainstream box. We need special schools.

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PencilsInSpace · 20/01/2020 13:52

I can't imagine living with a law that meant my husband had a say over what I did with my body.

This doesn't make any sense. The transitioner can have all the hormones and surgery they desire. The spousal exit clause ONLY affects whether a GRC, and thus a changed birth certificate, is granted. All it does is require the transitioner to end the marriage before a full GRC is granted, if their spouse does not consent to the marriage contract being changed. This is very normal, basic contract law.

I am pleased that you intend to listen to all parties because you appear to have greatly misunderstood what the spousal exit clause does. I know some of the 'trans widows' on Mumsnet would be very keen to discuss this with you.

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StealthPolarBear · 20/01/2020 13:53

200+ of us have logged our interest to talk about gender issues and the conflict with the rights of women and children.
These are issues that affect the fundamental rights of half the population. They are across every conceivable layer of public policy, and affect us from cradle to grave. I do not talk an behalf of the 200 but I suspect the majority would agree that they have not had a satisfactory response to any of the issues they are worried about.

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theunknownknown · 20/01/2020 13:54

Thank you Jess for answering my question. But you comments on equality and meritocracy are completely at odds with your subsequent comments on TWAW.
So in this brave new world, a biological male self-ids as a woman and then stands as a leader candidate. You cannot seriously believe this is equality.

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NewYearsHumberElla · 20/01/2020 13:57

Individual MP's opinions on this matter should bow to medical evidence

Referring to abortion. Glad to hear it.

There are indeed many other areas of policy that are directly relevant to and currently underpinned by medicine, science and empirical evidence. Self ID will throw them all out if the window in one basket. How will you deal with the consequences of making policy on belief and not evidence?

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JessPhillipsMP · 20/01/2020 13:57

@hazeyjane

Thankyou, Jess for a dressing my question.

I would just like to reiterate the fact that TAs and extra adults are not always the answer - in fact they can
a) mask the problem
b) make issues worse due to poor (or no) training and isolation for the child.

I know inclusion is a popular and incredibly important concept. But it is failing....and in its failure, children are suffering. We need more specialist provision, rather than trying to try to re shape a child to fit into a mainstream box. We need special schools.


The simple answer is that we need specialist trained staff who are available wherever they are needed to meet the need of the nation's children. Otherwise our education system is operating on the model that it's only there for some children, that it's only fit for some children.
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ColdAsIceCubes · 20/01/2020 13:57

"Thanks Miriel. I have in the last 5 years knocked thousands and thousands of doors in working class communities across our country. No one has ever mentioned this."

I’m in your constituency Jess, and not one person from any party knocked my door this time around. If you had I would’ve definitely raised this issue.

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