The MP broke the news in a video message to supporters today
Jess Phillips has resigned from the Labour leadership contest, leaving four remaining candidates in the battle to replace Jeremy Corbyn.
Announcing her decision in a video message, the Birmingham Yardley MP expressed that the next leader had to be able to unite the entire Labour movement. She then shared with her followers that she had ‘to be honest’ with herself – ‘that person is not me.’
Ms Phillips failed to appear at the hustings organised by the GMB on Tuesday, leading to speculation that her campaign was in jeopardy. She also had yet to receive any nominations from trade unions, affiliate bodies or local parties.
The 38 year-old Labour MP leaves behind Sir Keri Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Emily Thornberry as they compete for the position of leader.
An outspoken critic of Corbyn, Ms Phillips previously described Labour’s defeat at the last election as ‘cataclysmic’. Despite withdrawing from the leadership race herself, she has vowed to do ‘everything within my power’ to help facilitate the election of a leader who will unify the whole party.
‘To win again, to do all of the things that we need a Labour government to do, we must elect a leader who can bring us together, end the division and rebuild trust within the country.’
‘I’m going to go out into the country and join the fightback‘, she shared in the video message, ‘Because the Labour party is not about what job description you have. We are the strength of our common endeavour.’
Emily Thornberry and Lisa Nandy, both of whom Ms Phillips was running against, took to Twitter to share their reaction to the news of their fellow MP’s withdrawal.
Ms Nandy wrote, ‘I’m sorry to see Jess drop out. She has made waves, shown great friendship and I’ll miss her in this contest’, while Ms Thornberry tweeted that she was ‘very sorry’ to see Ms Phillips remove herself from the race.
She added ‘we need to broaden our debate, not narrow it, and force the two favourites to prove they’re up to the fight by pitting them against some real strength. Jess is a sad loss in that effort, but we will keep going.
The ballot for the leadership opens on 21st February, with Corbyn’s successor being announced on 4th April.