Labour leadership: Jess Phillips quits race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn" width="976" height="549">
Jess Phillips (second from the left) had been hoping to become Labour's first female leader
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 supporters, 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 and "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 has yet to receive any nominations from trade unions, affiliate bodies or local parties, which are needed for candidates to get on the final ballot. The BBC's political correspondent Iain Watson said this "all pointed in one direction" for Ms Phillips, who has long been an outspoken critic of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.
'Hope and change'
Confirming her exit, she said Labour needed a leader "who can unite all parts of our movement, the union movement, members and elected representatives"."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."
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Speaking at the first regional hustings of the contest last weekend in Liverpool, Ms Phillips said Boris Johnson would be "terrified" by the prospect of facing her in the Commons. She has insisted she has the "big personality" to change how Labour is perceived by the public after its fourth election defeat in a row, but she has struggled to gain momentum in the early stages of the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn. 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.">
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Mr Corbyn's successor will be announced on 4 April.
Labour Party
Jess Phillips
Labour Party leadership election
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