‘I wouldn’t be an MP if I had my kids now’, says Jess Phillips

Jess Phillips would not have gone on to sit in Parliament if she was having children now thanks to steeper challenges faced by new parents, the Labour MP has said.

The former shadow minister told an event in London that the erosion of support for new parents meant it would no longer make sense for her to return to work as she did following the birth of her children in the mid-2000s.

“I would be able to access no support services. The children’s centres, where I went with my children because I was a young mother, don’t exist anymore. The tax credits that me and my husband used to pay for all of the childcare so that I could go to work don’t exist anymore.

“I would be eligible for no benefits, so it wouldn’t have been financially viable for me to return to work. Under the current system, I would have given up work when my children were born.”

Following the birth of her children, Ms Phillips went on to work for the charity Women’s Aid before becoming a councillor in 2012 and a Labour MP in 2015.

Harriet Harman comment
Jess Phillips credits female MPs such as Harriet Harman with helping to create a system that enabled young mothers to keep working (Niall Carson/PA)

She said: “They built ladders until their hands bled, the women of 1997, and they looked at girls like me and made sure that I was alright. They were phenomenal, and I expect nothing less from the next Labour government.”

Asked whether the Labour Party had been too “timid” in opposition, she said Sir Keir Starmer’s efforts were working and that she expected the party would grow more confident in government.

She added: “I don’t think the next Labour government will be any more timid than the last one.”

– Advertisement –
– Advertisement –