Labour MP Jess Phillips says she will openly 'knife' Jeremy Corbyn if he fails to perform

The Birmingham Yardley MP says she is 'very frustrated' with Jeremy Corbyn's leadership

Jon Stone
Monday 14 December 2015 13:54 GMT
Labour MP Jess Phillips
Labour MP Jess Phillips

A recently elected Labour MP has pledged to openly “knife” Jeremy Corbyn as party leader if it becomes clear he cannot win the next general election.

Jess Phillips, who was elected in May to the Birmingham Yardley seat, said she regularly criticised the Labour leader and his office in person and preferred open criticism to behind-the-scenes leadership plotting.

“I would do anything that I felt was going to make the Labour party win the next election because if I don’t have that attitude all I’m doing is colluding with the Tories,” she told Guardian journalist Owen Jones in an interview for his YouTube channel.

“If that’s making Jeremy better I’ll roll my sleeves up.

“If that’s not going to happen - and I’ve said that to him and his staff to their faces - the day it comes 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.”

The MP said she was “very frustrated” with Mr Corbyn’s leadership and was not averse to voicing her opinion about where he could change course.

“I frequently go up to him or his staff and say ‘what are you thinking’,” she said.

“I’ve berated him and his office about all the nonsense about de-selection, I go in and say you’ve got to stamp this out now, you’ve got the stop the infighting.”

She also said she was worried Labour had not moved the agenda on from foreign policy and defence issues which her constituents rarely raised with her. Better communications skills were needed to change this state of affairs, she said.

“I am very frustrated with him, exceptionally. It’s very easy to dismiss the idea of good communication and good message as the ‘Blairite years of spin’. It’s OK to be clear with the country about what you think is best for them,” she argued.

Mr Corbyn has limited support among Labour MPs despite winning an overwhelming majority of members, supporters and trade unionists in a landslide leadership election victory.

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