- Jess Phillips enters the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as Labour party leader.
- The high-profile backbencher becomes the third MP to officially enter the contest, along with Emily Thornberry and Clive Lewis.
- Phillips said that Labour must elect a “different kind of leader” who “gets” the scale of the party’s woes after it suffered a crushing general election defeat last month.
- She said the party must be more honest with voters and regain their trust — or it will be in “big trouble.”
- Phillips’ campaign slogan is “Speak truth. Win power.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Jess Phillips has entered the race to replace Jeremy Corbyn as the next leader of the Labour party, insisting that the bruised opposition party must elect a leader “who gets it” in order to defeat Boris Johnson.
The MP for Birmingham Yardley confirmed on Friday that she wanted to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, launching her campaign with the slogan “Speak truth. Win power” and vowing to be a “different kind of leader.”
Phillips said that Labour must regain the trust of working-class voters after it suffered its worst general election result in nearly a century last month. The party lost swathes to seats as Johnson’s Conservatives won an 80-seat majority.
“I travelled around the country during the general election and what I was hearing from our amazing activists was that people don’t trust us anymore. And that’s what I was hearing from voters.
“They don’t think we are honest and they don’t trust us to be the people who get to make the decisions.”
In her campaign video, released on social media on Friday evening, Phillips speaks to voters in her own constituency plus those in Delyn, North Wales, which Labour lost to the Tories for the first time since 1987 at the recent general election. On Saturday, she is set to visit Bury North, another seat that the Conservatives took from Labour last month.
Phillips said that unless the party fully recognises the scale of its election defeat, it’ll be in “big trouble.”
She warned her party “now is not the time to play it safe” and that a “more of the same” approach will fail to regain the trust of working-class voters who ditched Labour in droves at the election on December 12.
Here is Phillips’ campaign video
—Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips) January 3, 2020
Phillips said: “There needs to be honesty in this leadership race. More important than that, there needs to be honesty with the voters who have turned away from Labour since 2005.
“In each case, the most fundamental point is this: we lost their trust.
“Only when we are clear and straightforward – inside and outside of the party – will people look again to Labour. Too often, like in the woeful response to anti-Semitism, the Labour Party has been afraid to speak the truth.
“We have got to be brave and bold and bring people with us, not try and look all ways. Trying to please everyone usually means we have pleased no one.
“Now is not the time to be meek. Boris Johnson needs to be challenged, with passion, heart and precision. We can beat him. We need to speak to people’s hearts, and people need to believe we really mean it when we do.”
More candidates will join the race in the coming weeks
Phillips is the third Labour MP to officially announce their leadership campaign, along with Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry and Shadow Treasury Minister Clive Lewis.
Despite having never held a shadow ministerial position, Phillips is a high-profile MP whose plain-speaking style and campaigning on issues like schools cuts has earned her admirers and a sizable social media following.
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However, she is widely regarded as being closer to the right of Corbyn, and has been publicly critical of his leadership, which will limit her prospects of winning the contest once it gets underway.
Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer, who is expected to announce his candidacy in the coming weeks, is the most popular choice among Labour party members, according to a YouGov poll published this week.
Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca-Long Bailey and Lisa Nandy are also expected to enter the race in the coming days.
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