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MP could quit Labour if Corbyn re-elected as leader

Published 16/08/2016

A Labour MP has warned she could quit the party if Jeremy Corbyn wins again in the leadership election.

Jess Phillips, an outspoken critic of the Labour leader, has said the levels of abuse within the party had become so bad that she would consider sitting as an independent unless the treatment of MPs "dramatically" changed.

She accused Mr Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell of "inciting" their supporters to put pressure on MPs opposed to the leadership and dismissed their condemnation of the abuse as "empty rhetoric".

"The Labour Party is in a very difficult position at the moment, with a lot of abuse being thrown around," Ms Phillips told BBC Radio 4's World At One in an interview recorded at the end of last month.

"It would be very, very difficult for me that if Jeremy Corbyn wins and something doesn't dramatically change in the way people are being treated online, in the streets, our security, I can't imagine why I would want to stay somewhere where I am so obviously not welcome."

The Birmingham Yardley MP said she was subjected to abuse - including threats of violence - on a daily basis, including from one person who "thought it was funny to mock up a picture of a woman with a spear through her heart and put my face on it".

While she acknowledged that Mr Corbyn and Mr McDonnell had condemned bullying and abuse within the party, she said they had failed to follow up their words with any effective action against the perpetrators.

"Words are all well and good. I'd like to see some action. I'd like to see them calling out some of the very worst ringleaders," she said.

"I'd like to see them actually praising the work that Labour MPs do around all sort of issues and say 'Don't you dare have a go at these people, they are doing a perfectly good job'.

"But I don't hear that. I just hear the empty rhetoric about it being 'kinder, gentler politics'. Well, this never happened under Ed Miliband."

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