Jess Phillips has dropped out of the Labour leadership contest, leaving four candidates in the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.
In a video message to her supporters she stated: “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.”
The Birmingham Yardley MP argued the next leader had to be able to unite the whole Labour movement.
She said she had to “be honest” with herself – “that person is not me.”
The candidates are vying for union endorsements, with the GMB set to announce who it is supporting shortly.
Ms Phillips missed a hustings organised by the union earlier on Tuesday, prompting speculation that her campaign was in trouble.
She had yet to receive any nominations from trade unions, affiliate bodies or local parties, which are needed for candidates to get on the final ballot.
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. pic.twitter.com/xianaiGpPr
— Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips) January 21, 2020
Ms Phillips, who has long been an outspoken critic of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, could still have an influence on the contest if she decided to endorse another candidate.
In a recent interview with LBC, Ms Phillips said if she couldn’t be leader, she would support one of the other female candidates in the race.
The full text of the statement Jess Phillips has released explaining why she is withdrawing from the Labour leadership contest.
The election defeat that the Labour party faced at the last election was cataclysmic. We need to win 124 seats to just get a majority of one.
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 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 who can unite all parts of our movement, the union movement, members and elected representatives.
And I have to also be honest with myself, as I said I always would be throughout this campaign.
At this time, that person is not me.
In order to win the country, we are going to have to find a candidate, in this race, who can do all of that, and then take that message out to the country.
A message of hope and change, that things can be better.
Now, I want to send a message to all of the people who joined our campaign. Tens of thousands of people have signed up, and in doing that, tens of thousands of new people have joined the Labour party.
It is brilliant they will get a say in this race.I want to say to those people. This is not the end.
Together, we can now use our strength, to make the changes we want to make. To use our voices in the Labour party, and in the country, to make sure that the Labour party win elections again.
This isn’t the end.
It’s the beginning.I also want to send a message to all of those in the Jewish community, many of whom have been in touch with me to say that in me, they found somebody who would stand up for them.
That doesn’t change.
I will always stand up, I will always speak out and I promise that we will change the problems in our party that we have seen.
I’m going to go out into the country and join the fight back.
Because the Labour party is not about the job description you have.
We are the strength of our common endeavour, and everybody who has joined in, now we go out into the country, in the local elections, the mayoral elections and we fight back.
We make sure we are out there, speaking to the country, and making sure the Labour party can win elections again. -Jess Phillips
A source said that when she spoke at a campaign event at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in London on Monday night, they sensed there were problems with the campaign.
“It felt like she was giving her own elegy. It was the sort of speech that Liz Kendall was giving in month three of the last leadership campaign but it’s week three,” he said.
“I did wonder if something was up. She was saying the important thing was to go through it, so that people like me and people who sound like me can go for leader.”
Phillips scraped over the line to get the nominations needed to get to the second phase of the leadership debate with the backing of 23 MPs, including herself. She has been described as being on the right of the party by opponents.
Among those who backed her were Wes Streeting, who was running her campaign, Liz Kendall, Margaret Hodge, Neil Coyle and Chris Bryant. Early polling had put her in third place behind Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey.