Jess Phillips has stood down from the Labour leadership race.
The MP for Birmingham Yardley said that she was not the right candidate to unite all parts of the party’s movement “at this time”.
Sending a message to everyone who has backed me, to all who have joined in and joined up – I promise that your voices will still be heard. We all have a role to play in changing our party and our country.
Posted by Jess Phillips on Tuesday, 21 January 2020
Announcing her decision in a video message, Ms Phillips said: “I truly believe that unless we talk to the country on their terms, not just on ours, that we won’t be able to make the gains we need to win an election – and (to) do what everyone in the Labour movement wants to do, and that is make people’s lives better.
“In order to do that, the Labour Party will need to select a candidate that can unite all parts of our movement – the union movement, the members and elected representatives – I have to be honest that at this time, that person isn’t me.
“In order to win the country, we are going to have to find a candidate in this race who can do that and take that message out to the country of hope and change for things to be better.”
Phillips had described a public hustings on Saturday where she appeared with the other leadership candidates as ‘awful’.
She had not gained the backing of any unions, and did not appear at an event today organised by the GMB.
Aides said her absence from the event was due to an unavoidable appointment elsewhere.
Ms Phillips acknowledged on Monday that it would be a “bold roll of the dice” for Labour members to elect her as leader.
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer is the frontrunner in the Labour contest, having already secured his place on the final ballot paper as a result of nominations from the unions Unison and Usdaw and the Socialist Environment and Resources Association (Sera), an affiliate group.
Sir Keir, shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry and former shadow cabinet minister Lisa Nandy were all at the GMB hustings in London.
Candidates need the nominations of three Labour affiliates, including at least two unions, which amount to at least 5% of affiliate members.
The only other route on to the ballot paper is by receiving nominations from at least 33 constituency Labour parties (CLPs).
The contenders will take part in a televised debate on February 17.
The hour-long Channel 4 programme will be hosted by Krishnan Guru-Murthy, with the audience asking questions.
The ballot for the leadership opens on February 21 and closes on April 2, with the results announced on April 4.