The Labour MP, who last week gave a powerful address to Parliament recalling the "terrifying" moment she was pinned against a pub wall and groped as a teenager, derided pundit Julia Hartley-Brewer for "laughing" at her for being a victim.
Despite Phillips' claims that throughout her childhood she had frequently been subjected to men flashing and masturbating in front of her, the moving memories failed to pass muster with the Telegraph columnist.
Hartley-Brewer sparked the spat, saying Phillips had seemingly "spent her entire life being sexually assaulted" - referencing two cities the Bible says God destroyed that have become by-words for vice.
Jess Philips has spent her entire life being sexually assaulted. Where the hell did she grow up? Sodom or Gomorrah? https://t.co/bpqCONNECw— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) February 11, 2016
She then said Phillips had told "ALL men" not to rape, adding: "Most men don't need to be told that, thanks."
Oh, and thanks for telling ALL men not to rape, Jess. Most men don't need to be told that, thanks. https://t.co/bpqCONNECw— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) February 11, 2016
But Phillips hit back, saying she had hardly been sexually assaulted her whole life, but more than once.
"Cheers for laughing at it though," the MP added.
Not my whole life just more than once in my 34 years. Cheers for laughing at it though. https://t.co/BOWKh2j1rg— Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips) February 11, 2016
Hartley-Brewer responded, questioning whether Phillips was lying about her experiences of sexual assault.
.@jessphillips more than once or the "many times" you claim you've been groped? You said it "happens all the time"? Really?— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) February 11, 2016
Leading a senior political journalist also at the Telegraph to call for calm and suggest that probing the number of times a person had or hadn't been groped was not "really helping anyone".
"Then don't get involved. Simple!" came the reply.
Minutes later, Phillips posted a series of none-too-cryptic tweets saying she had been besieged by "fools" and felt forced to restrain her responses to them due to her status as a public figure.
The later in the evening the more the fools come out. I'm not going to respond, don't need to insult them, being them is its own punishment— Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips) February 11, 2016
Sometimes wish I didn't act all lofty and say I'm not going to respond....thought up some quality cusses. Oh well public figure and all.— Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips) February 11, 2016
Tensions between the two have seemingly cooled off, with neither having engaged in the argument since their original joust last night.
Hartley-Brewer had been responding to an interview Phillips gave to Channel 4, in which she discussed the parallels between attacks on women in Cologne and those “baited and heckled” in her Birmingham constituency.
“What I would like to say to the men and boys of the world is don’t rape and sexually assault women,” she said.