My children told me to give up politics after Jo Cox was murdered, says Jess Phillips

13 January 2020, 12:41

The Labour leadership contender told James O'Brien that she decided to turn abuse and death threats as "fuel to get me up".

Jess Phillips told James O'Brien: "My children have said to me, certainly after Jo was murdered, they said they didn't want me to carry on and they didn't think it was worth it.

"To which I told them that I thought it was and again, I say to them, if people like me go away then what future is there for our country if we're allowing fear to control our politics?"

This was in response to a caller who said that he was concerned about her safety because of "misogyny over the internet" and Jo Cox's murder.

Phillips replied: "Oh bab. Sometimes I don't feel safe. I think all politicians would probably answer the question the same but for women politicians it has been a much harder couple of years in the atmosphere of politics."

She explained: "I'm talking about direct threats to my life and sometimes you pause for thought but that is very occasional and, actually, the attacks that I suffer, especially misogynistic attacks, I have learned to turn them into fuel to get me up.

"I'm much more scared of people like me bowing down to abuse. I'm much scared that if I bow down, what kind of future would my kids have?"

My children told me to give up politics after Jo Cox was murdered, says Jess Phillips
My children told me to give up politics after Jo Cox was murdered, says Jess Phillips. Picture: PA

James O'Brien asked: "What's brought you lowest?"

She replied: "I mean, Jo being murdered. I'm never ever, ever going to... nothing in politics, it doesn't matter how awful things might get for me throughout this leadership, no matter what gets thrown at me, nothing is ever going to be like the moment that hearing that Jo had been murdered.

"Nothing will ever compare in the emotion that you feel, not just for your friend, for your colleague, for her family that you know, but the immediate sense that our democracy and yourself is now under threat and that your life will never be the same again."

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