Who is Jess Phillips? The Labour MP representing Birmingham Yardley

0
35


Yardley MP Jess Phillips was elected as MP for Birmingham Yardley in the 2010 General Election, defeating Liberal Democrat John Hemming who had held a 3,002 majority in the constituency.

Ms Phillips became chair of the Women’s Parliamentary Labour Party in September 2016.

She increased her majority in the 2017 General Election to 16,574.

Previously, she worked for Women’s Aid for five years from 2010.

Her role saw her managing domestic abuse refuges in Sandwell.

The 36-year-old began her political career as a Birmingham City Councillor in 2012 through the Labour Future Candidates Programme.

The youngest of four children, Phillips is the daughter of Stewart Trainor, a teacher, and Jean Trainor, who was Deputy Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation and Chair of South Birmingham Mental Health Trust.

Phillips went to King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls, a local grammar school.

Video Loading

Video Unavailable

Phillips studied Economic and Social History/Social Policy at the University of Leeds between 2000-2003.

Between 2011-2013, she studied for a postgraduate diploma in Public Sector Management at the University of Birmingham.

Phillips left the Labour Party during the years of Tony Blair’s leadership, rejoining after the 2010 general election.

She was then appointed as the victims’ champion at Birmingham City Council, lobbying police and criminal justice organisations on behalf of victims.

She also served on the West Midlands Police and Crime Panel.

Jess is married to Tom Phillips.

The couple have two sons.

A typical day

Ms Phillips lives in Birmingham. But on Monday morning, she takes the train to London, to her office at Westminster.

“I will get up take my children to school and the jump on a train and go to London.

“I’ll arrive in London around mid-day.

“On Monday, the early part of my day is mainly taken up with meetings with charities, with lobby groups and other people who want to have a say in what Parliament does.

“I’ll also go to the Chamber of the House of Commons, to take part in questions or quiz a Minister who is delivering a statement.

“On Monday evening we have the meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Usually this is the first chance I have to eat – around 7pm.

“I’ll stay in Parliament until 10pm, when the votes are finished.

“Between 7pm and 10pm I’m usually either discussing things with colleagues, or doing the reading and research I need to do for the rest of the work.”

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are similar, though they might also include taking part in meetings of the Commons Backbench Business Committee, which helps decide what gets debated in Parliament, or the Commons Women and Equalities Committee, which looks at how society can become fairer for women and everyone else. Ms Phillips is a member of both.

Her evenings are also taken up partly by answering emails. She receives between 200 and 1,000 of these on a typical day, though some, such as requests for help from local constituents, will be answered by staff in her office.

She heads back to Birmingham on Wednesday night, arriving around 11pm. And on Thursday and Friday she’s working in her constituency, meeting everyone from constituents to local businesses and schools.

Working weekends

There’s also a regular “surgery” on Fridays from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, Ms Phillips is available either in her office or in a community centre, for people to turn up and see her.

There is a second constituency on Saturday – and a couple of hours knocking on doors.

“I work six days a work, but it’s a short day on Saturday, between 10am and 4pm.”

Holding a surgery is an important part of an MP’s work. Constituents might come to her asking for help getting a house, or getting health care that they need, for example.

The local MP doesn’t have direct control over any of these services. But they can contact the relevant authorities and generally kick up a fuss on their constituents’ behalf.

“I have the power to make the system work better for people and get answers for people.”

A voice for Birmingham

In the House of Commons, Ms Phillips is known for her campaigns demanding the Government take the issue of violence against women more seriously, and particularly calling for more support for refuges which provide a home for people fleeing abusive partners.

And she’s made a difference, she says.

“The issue around welfare reform and women living in refuges, we had an impact on that.

“Now there will be a new funding model for refuges which is more sustainable.”

Along with other MPs, she also regularly takes part in votes which determine the nation’s laws – and speaks in debates about issues such as the health service or schools, to make sure the voice of her constituents is heard.

“Having a Brummie voice in Parliament makes people feel like they are represented. Lots of people say that to me.

“It makes a difference that people know you are there fighting for them.

“There are lots of things that are incredibly frustrating, when you are banging your head against a brick wall wondering if things are ever going to change.

“But they can change.”



Read The Story Here

SHARE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here