Sunak urged to deselect Liz Truss over appearance on podcast whose founder said he 'wouldn't rape' Jess Phillips

29 May 2024, 18:45 | Updated: 29 May 2024, 21:23

Jess Phillips speaking to LBC's Andrew Marr
Jess Phillips speaking to LBC's Andrew Marr. Picture: Getty/LBC
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Rishi Sunak has been urged to deselect the former Prime Minister Liz Truss over her appearance on a podcast founded by a man who said he "wouldn't even rape" the Labour MP Jess Phillips.

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Truss, who is the Tory parliamentary candidate for South-West Norfolk, recorded a podcast with Lotus Eaters - founded by Carl Benjamin - before the General Election was announced.

The episode is expected to be released on Wednesday.

In 2019, Benjamin sparked fury after it emerged he tweeted “I wouldn’t even rape you” at Phillips, which he claimed was a "joke taken out of context".

Phillips has now written to the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, to urge him to deselect Truss as the candidate for South-West Norfolk.

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Andrew Marr speaks to Jess Phillips about Liz Truss podcast appearance

“If she just Googled the name of the person of this site, then the first that would’ve come up would have been the instances of this man abusing me,” Ms Phillips told LBC’s Andrew Marr this evening.

“My message to Richard Holden is that I look forward to his response and that I am not interest in what they can and can't say within the limits of the law,” she said when asked to give a message to the Tory party chairman, who was listening in.

“I’m not interested in what Liz Truss does as a private citizen. However, she is a candidate for the Conservative Party and I just wonder if they have any standards about what their candidates can and cannot do.”

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Reacting to the comments, Tory Party chairman Richard Holden told LBC they were "vile" and said he had no idea why Ms Truss appeared on the podcast.

Ms Truss was interviewed on the show by Conservative Party member Connor Tomlinson, not Benjamin, before the election was called.

Approached for comment, a spokesman for Liz Truss said that she “has never met or had any dealings with Benjamin.”

Ms Phillips, who will stand for re-election as the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, told the Prime Minister: “The impact men like Benjamin have on politics cannot be understated.

“Men like Benjamin make female MPs live in fear, while discouraging women from standing in future, weakening our democracy in the process.“

The MP continued: “It is clear that anyone willing to appear on this hateful platform is not suitable to be a candidate for any political party. Even Reform UK deselected one of its candidates after his harmful views and work as a content creator for Lotus Eaters was exposed.

“If you have any decency, you will deselect Liz Truss as Conservative candidate for South West Norfolk. Anything less than this will show how weak you are and how far the Conservative Party has sunk.”

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