POLITICS

Labour MP Jess Phillips: I Told Diane Abbott To F*ck Off During Feminism Row

17/09/2015 11:55 | Updated 17 September 2015
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Labour MP Jess Phillips told Diane Abbott to “fuck off” during a heated row about a lack of women in the top shadow cabinet jobs, The Huffington Post UK can reveal.

The Birmingham Yardley MP clashed with Ms Abbott at a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) on Monday, after it emerged the four top jobs in Mr Corbyn’s team had gone to men.

As well as Mr Corbyn as leader, Andy Burnham is Shadow Home Secretary, Hilary Benn in Shadow Foreign Secretary and John McDonnell is Shadow Chancellor.

Ms Abbott accused Ms Phillips of asking a “sanctimonious” question, and told her “you’re not the only feminist in the PLP.”

Mr Corbyn looked on in silence as the two MPs argued.

Talking to The Huffington Post UK, Ms Phillips, who despite being elected in May has already earned a reputation for being one of the most outspoken MPs, said: “I roundly told her to fuck off.”

When asked what Ms Abbott did after that suggestion, Ms Phillips replied: “She fucked off.”

She added: “People said to me they had always wanted to say that to her, and I don’t know why they don’t as the opportunity presents itself every other minute.”

“I said: ‘Who the fuck do you think you are?’”

jess phillips

Labour MP Jess Phillips

Today The Times repeated the claim that Mr Corbyn and Ms Abbott, appointed Shadow International Development Secretary by the new Labour leader, were in a romantic relationship in the 1970s.

The Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson was an unlikely defender of the duo, rebuking broadcaster Andrew Neil for tweeting about the story.

She tweeted: "More importantly, who cares? As single adults before they were elected to Commons, surely this fails IPSO [the new press regulator] public interest test?"

Ms Phillips does not believe it was this personal history between the pair which stopped him from intervening during the expletive-laden row.

She said: “It’s not what I would have done. I would have told us both to pack it in, but then I’m a mother of a ten year old.

“He probably knows what she’s like and thought there’s little point.”

Ms Phillips added: “It was nothing to do with the fact they were lovers.”

In an exclusive blog for The Huffington Post UK, Ms Phillips revealed she is keen to build bridges with Mr Corbyn, despite their differences.

She wrote: “Whilst our start was cordially disharmonious, perhaps me and Jeremy Corbyn can take this journey together. Me a new MP, him a new leader.”

Claiming she does not have “reverence for anyone”, Ms Phillips revealed she also made a comment to the Prime Minister David Cameron when the pair found themselves in the same voting lobby last week during the European Referendum Bill debate.

She said: “I said ‘Dave, I don’t like being in here with you’. To be fair to him he replied: ‘I am not sure I am that keen either’.”

Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet
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