Jess Phillips on Angela Rayner tax story: scandal or smear? | Crooked Media
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April 18, 2024
Pod Save the UK
Jess Phillips on Angela Rayner tax story: scandal or smear?

In This Episode

On a busy week of news as MPs return to Parliament, Nish and Coco are joined by the Labour MP Jess Phillips. She gives her take on the investigation into Angela Rayner’s tax affairs, and reveals the toll it’s taking on her party’s deputy leader. 


A discussion on Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel leads Jess to reveal her family links to Iran, and there’s some rare praise for Rishi Sunak for his anti-smoking legislation. Jess also says Diane Abbott should get the whip back, despite the two Labour colleagues having a somewhat frosty relationship. 


Villain of the week is Liz Truss for her shameless book tour, although Jess makes a play for her to be hero, saying she’s “a gift” for Labour and “should be on the tele more”. There’s also praise for Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham, for putting a sexist photographer in his place. Plus Nish and Coco have some songwriting tips for Megan Thee Stallion.


Pod Save the UK is a Reduced Listening production for Crooked Media.


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Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley


Audio credits:

BBC News

Fox News









Nish Kumar Hi, this is Pod Save the UK.


Coco Khan I’m Coco Khan.


Nish Kumar And I’m Nish Kumar


Coco Khan Joining us on the pod this week is the Labour MP Jess Phillips.


Nish Kumar She loves a chat which is good news because there’s a lot to talk about both at home and abroad.


Coco Khan There’s Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel, Commons battles over Rwanda and smoking, plus the ongoing saga of Angela Rayner’s tax affairs.


Nish Kumar And for light relief, there’s always Liz Truss and her stupid fucking book.


Coco Khan Hi Nish!


Nish Kumar Hi, Coco.


Coco Khan How are you?


Nish Kumar Good. How are you?


Coco Khan I’m all right. Yeah. What you been up to?


Nish Kumar Not much. I’ve got a slightly blocked nose. Oh. So. Which is why I sound, I would say particularly nasal.


Coco Khan Is it allergies or a virus?


Nish Kumar I think it’s allergy-related, unfortunately. The pollen count is high.


Coco Khan How does it work with hay fever?


Nish Kumar I don’t know, but it’s easily the most candy ass of all of the conditions. You’re such a weed that you’re able to be bullied by flowers like that. It feels embarrassing.


Coco Khan So my other half gets hay fever, and he used to be allergic to cats. But then we got a cat, and now he’s not allergic. So what I’m saying is, have you considered hugging a tree?  Immunize yourself.


Nish Kumar I just rub flowers on my face all day, every day.


Coco Khan Listen, it will be a short, sharp shock, that’s for sure. But maybe that would work.


Nish Kumar Coco, I trust you on many things, but medical science is simply not one of them.


Coco Khan That is fair. That is completely fair.


Nish Kumar What have you been up to?


Coco Khan Honestly, not a lot. Before we started. No, go on man.


Nish Kumar Before we started, Coco was frantically looking through a diary, going, I’ve not done anything this week.


Coco Khan Well, I didn’t know what was going to go through my diary and it was like exercise. Take the cat to the vet. Pay this bill off. Oh God, this is all very boring life. So I’m calling it my slow girl spring. What do you think?


Nish Kumar Slow girl spring? I don’t mind that.


Coco Khan Yeah, that’s what I’m doing. I’m in my slow girl spring era.


Nish Kumar I think Megan the Stallion is going to struggle to have a hit song with that title, but.


Coco Khan She’s just rapping about, like she’s cleaning the oven.


Nish Kumar Yes, she’s getting her chores done.


Coco Khan She’s repainting the kitchen.


Nish Kumar She’s just filed her tax return early.


Coco Khan Exactly, exactly. She’s looking for a holiday. Skyscanner is. Let me do.


Nish Kumar That. Listen, if Megan Thee Stallion is interested, we are available as songwriters.


Coco Khan On a more serious note, there is a thing now, right? Which is like the anti hustle culture. I can’t remember what the word is like.


Nish Kumar It’s just called being a human being. I’ve been operating a sort of anti hustle culture my entire life really. I’ve certainly worked hard in my life. And you know, I do an unusual job that requires a lot of odd hours that I’m self-employed. So I have to do a certain amount of. But I don’t think that’s a good thing. Yeah, I don’t think the fact that people have three jobs now is anything other than the evidence of the failure of capitalism as an economic model.


Coco Khan I couldn’t agree more.


Nish Kumar All this stuff about like, you need three jobs to survive. You like that the system is not working. That means the system is not working well.


Coco Khan I mean, I completely agree. I think work life balance is great. I recently did a whole piece about LinkedIn because LinkedIn is the center of the hustle culture, so.


Nish Kumar Well, I’m not on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not amazingly huge in the stand up comedy world.


Coco Khan How strange. But yeah, there’s a culture there where like everything’s about, but everything you do has to be a part of your career pathway. And like all the things that enrich you as a human being, like community work, I don’t know, even parenting and informal family activities that make you great and a people person like they have no value on LinkedIn, whereas they might in real life if you actually met a person. Anyway, I digress. The answer to that is this thing called the lazy girl job. It’s all over TikTok, darling. Yeah, it’s about this idea of picking jobs which, like, don’t necessarily stress you out, maybe don’t even stimulate you just to be jobs. And so like I keep saying this and I think it’s great and I support it and I endorse it, but occasionally you’ll get one where they’re like, yeah, yeah, I’m a part time enter job here so that I can focus on other things. And I’m like, are you independently wealthy?


Nish Kumar Yeah, yeah, it does sound a bit like that. Yeah. You know.


Coco Khan Like I do my part time pottery. I’m not. So you’re married to a lot. That’s what’s happening.


Nish Kumar [AD]


Nish Kumar MPs returned to Westminster this week after 20 day races, but there was no time to compare holiday snaps and catch up on gossip with events both at home and abroad demanding immediate attention. Foremost of which, of course, was the fallout from Saturday night when Iran launched an unprecedented missile and drone attack on Israel, which was in retaliation for a deadly strike on its consulate in Damascus. The prime minister came to the Commons on Monday to update MPs on the situation. So we are working urgently with our allies to de-escalate the situation and prevent further bloodshed. We want to see calmer heads prevail and we are directing all our diplomatic efforts to that end. Yesterday I spoke to my fellow G7 leaders. We are united in our condemnation of this attack. We discussed further potential diplomatic measures, which we will be working together to coordinate in the coming days. I will also shortly be speaking to Prime Minister Netanyahu to express our solidarity with Israel in the face of this attack, and to discuss how we can prevent further escalation. All sides must show restraint.


Coco Khan On the home front soon. It has had two significant battles in the Commons this week. Firstly, the government’s controversial Safety of Rwanda bill that was back with MPs once again voting down the Lords amendments, making it increasingly likely that it could pass into law by the end of this week. Of course, we’re still a long way from seeing whether or not Rishi Sunak can fulfill his promise of getting flights off the ground this spring. Charities supporting asylum seekers, such as care for Calais, helped block flights to Rwanda last year. They’re planning to launch legal challenges as quickly as possible following the law gaining royal assent.


Nish Kumar Another policy Rishi Sunak is staking his reputation on is his landmark anti-smoking legislation, which would ban anyone born after 2009 from ever buying tobacco. The tobacco and vapes bill would also make vapes less attractive to children by restricting flavors and packaging. As if that’s going to work. Despite Boris Johnson describing the plans as nuts, a lot of huffing and puffing from the Tories about Winston Churchill and complaints that the plan is un conservative. It passed its second reading on Tuesday, with 57 Tory MPs voting against it, including leadership hopefuls Kemi Badenoch, Robert Jenrick and Suella Braverman.


Coco Khan So there’s no shortage of stuff to talk about. With our guest this week it’s Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley since 2012 and co-presenter of the electoral dysfunction podcast. Welcome to the show, Jess.


Jess Phillips Hello. Thanks for having me.


Coco Khan How was your 20 days out of commons?


Jess Phillips It was. Well, you can tell the members of Parliament who think they’re going to lose their seats because they’ve all got quite a nice time. Because the trouble is, is at the moment we are literally in aspic in Stacey. So no one actually books anything or does anything because at any moment there could have been an election at any moment basically in the last two years. Yeah. So I did actually have one week off. Yeah, I worked for most of it just in my constituency. But I did have one week off. But my husband was an my children don’t care about me. So I watched Grace and Frankie through for the third time. And I can’t tell you how broader was that? By Friday, I just went to work. I really felt like I needed a break.


Nish Kumar From Grace and Frankie.


Jess Phillips Normally, I like if I’m off, I’m still doing some sort of writing something or doing something, but. But I didn’t have anything to do, and I just was totally lost. So I just went to work.


Coco Khan But. Oh. Can I introduce you to a concept that we’ve just made up?


Jess Phillips Okay.


Coco Khan Slow girl. Spring. Okay, well.


Jess Phillips I am here for it. So what do we do in slow girl spring?


Coco Khan Nothing. Nothing. We don’t do anything.


Jess Phillips Play royal match on your phone.


Coco Khan On the phone. We take ourselves out of the grind. We recognize that women are working twice with domestic duties and employment. Tuesdays. Grace and Frankie. There we go. You did it.


Jess Phillips I’m sorry. I feel like I’m now a trailblazer. Yeah, I think you’re right. But. Yeah. Yeah, I’m totally for that. Unfortunately, we are now heading into, like, local elections and mayoral elections and things said. Yeah, I’m glad I did. Just watch Grace and Frankie because I’m going to just be listening to endless ring doorbell rings for the next, three weeks until it’s burned into my brain.


Nish Kumar Before we actually talk about the many things that we’ve got to talk to you about, it is was asking somebody inside what’s going Westminster at the moment because outside looking at it, it just feels like mental. Well, it just feels like nothing. Nothing’s happening because we don’t have a functioning government essentially. Yeah, yeah. Is that how it feels inside the palace?


Jess Phillips Genuinely feels like everything is totally futile. So I’m working on a number of different bills at the moment. So there’s the criminal justice bill there, which, you know, famously, they’re sort of taking tents of people and criminalizing people for smelling. Yeah, but also has loads and loads of stuff about police standards and things in it. And also the victims bill is passing through the Lords at the moment. And and I spent all this time working up amendments, fighting campaigns for the legislation that will likely never passed. And sometimes at like 10:00 at night, when I’m sort of putting it to bed and sending things off to the clerks, I just think, fuck you, David. Like I’m just what a monumental waste of everybody’s time. So I, I’ve started to think of it as just, all you can do is try and do your job as lying foundations for a future that will come eventually. Yeah, but it is exactly as you say. It is just loads of people looking like, literally like, you know, on LinkedIn, trying to get a job in the tea room and the aftermath. And we all just we all sort of like, openly take the mic out of each other, like and like, you know, like I’m like, oh, you fantasy. Yeah. You got any chance like two people and they’re like, not yet seem to be going for the local candidate. Like I have that going on. So it’s all yeah, the whole thing is just a bit like just say when the election’s going to be about. Yeah, I’m just like, I feel like he’s toying with me like my cat does with a match.


Coco Khan I keep having this thing cause, I’m in my mid 30s. I keep having this thing being like, I should probably have a child at some point, probably have a child, but I can’t until they call an election. Really? Well, I mean, why did I do a political podcast? I don’t want to find myself on mat leave when it happens because, you know, this is the World Cup for election, isn’t it?


Jess Phillips Yeah, it is it is the world cup. You’re right. You’re right.


Coco Khan It’s the world cup of political podcasts. You can’t miss it.


Jess Phillips I missed the one of the things I really, really miss actually, being an elected politician I miss being a spectator. Yeah. Being a spectator is a lot of fun.  And I used to like election. That’s why I love a by election that I’m nothing to do with. Like, I just. I feel like it’s like I get that hit. I miss just watching general election coverage all night.


Nish Kumar Yeah, yeah.


Coco Khan Yeah, yeah.


Jess Phillips I sometimes watch the 97 election. It’s a phenom.


Nish Kumar Yeah, they do play a lot of the times.


Jess Phillips The 92, I watch that a lot.


Coco Khan I mean, I’m not going to lie Jess just you are deep in it, you know, deeper than me. I do go to the pub for an election. That is true. But. Wow, reruns of 92 and 97. Oh, yeah.


Jess Phillips It’s really funny because there’s loads of people on it who are now either, like just being Vox popped in the street, it was Susan Calman. And the 97 election. Susan Calman is like one of the main things on the BBC output, like talking about what’s happening in Scotland. I don’t know why the season.


Nish Kumar That is funny.


Jess Phillips It’s like on The Krypton Factor. It was, it was Alan Partridge. It was Steve.


Nish Kumar Yeah, yeah.


Jess Phillips You don’t realize until you rewatch it. I love shit like that.




Nish Kumar Let’s start with the big news of the week, Iran’s attack on Israel. Now, it must have been pretty shocking watching all of that happen in real time on Saturday night and knowing that it was going to obviously dominate the week in politics.


Jess Phillips Yeah, yeah, it is. And actually this morning, funnily enough, I was expecting to wake up this morning to the retaliation. I don’t know why I had felt something in my waters that I was going to wake up, and this news would hit you. I don’t think people realize how difficult decisions about war are. And I think everybody at home would sit and say, like, dropping bombs is always bad, because obviously, like, obviously you don’t drop bombs, people. But personally, I mean, I find it quite, challenging. So my brother is married to an Iranian woman, who fled in the 1970s. Lots of her family is still in Iran because of Iran’s attacks on, people in or foiled attacks on people in nuke. So I was really feel really, really anxious. So I there’s a personal element to it. My nephews are half Iranian, and I don’t think you can ever say, oh, you really want to be on one person’s side? That’s not what war is like. But in this instance, there is only heartache today. Yeah. There is. There is no upside. There is the there is only downside. And it feels so. Especially money to me. If there were more women in these rooms, like things might have been a bit better.


Nish Kumar When I think anything. Well, I think this is all this has been this sort of feeling since October 7th, the idea that a horrendous terrorist attack happens. But the fact that it happens while Israel is being run by Benjamin Netanyahu, always, you know, who you know has is essentially prolonging his own political career, too.


Jess Phillips He’s a world. I mean, you know, he’s as well, you know, sort of any sort of fulsome backing of Israel, which I understand, you know, in the face of a terrorist attack, who wouldn’t want to give a country its absolute fulsome support? And so is you have to separate the concept of Israel, the people of Israel, from Benjamin Netanyahu. I remember literally as the news was coming in, we were at the Labour Party conference, and I was, with some of, my colleagues who are really big supporters of Israel. And all of us were just like, there is an opportunity here for something good to come from this. It will never be taken by Benjamin Netanyahu.


Nish Kumar Yeah. What do you think of the UK government’s response so far? Because that that is a complication, isn’t it? The UK government has given fulsome support and the US government has both given fulsome support.


Jess Phillips Also to to Benjamin Netanyahu.


Nish Kumar Netanyahu. Yeah.


Jess Phillips And I thought, well, I find that very, very difficult. What I find, what I found difficult in like say, I literally I loathe the Iranian regime. I have campaigned for them to be prescribed. They are dangerous both here and, in Iran. And you know that they have no interest in the people of Gaza. This action actually has been done. What was the world spinning against Netanyahu? It felt last week. I felt like there’s a move now to temper Israel’s actions in Gaza, very openly talking about arms sales. Biden being much, much firmer and with it was undone by Iran. And so anyone who perceives what Iran has done as being good for Gaza is an idiot. It isn’t good for Gaza. It is terrible, and it will worsen the situation on the ground in both cars around the West Bank, especially actually in the West Bank. Having said all of that, watching David Cameron, who I have to say I think has had his wings clipped by Rishi Sunak. So David Cameron was definitely part of that push to temper Israel’s actions. And definitely if you look at his history in the region, you would say he he is a relatively fair actor in this. And I have felt that that especially because Suella Braverman went over and was all, sort of flag waving, for the Netanyahu government. I think that’s another reason why Rishi Sunak has sort of hardened slightly and Cameron’s been reined in. But it’s very difficult for me to listen to the Foreign Secretary saying when he it was put to him, Will Israel attack their embassy? And then they come back and say, and he said, oh, wait, you can’t compare the two things like Iran said, 112 drones. And, you know, that’s it’s complete over, overreaction. It’s just like you you can’t say that and then say, not say the same thing about the way that Israel, Israelis behaved in Gaza. Yeah. And so I have found it jarring this week.


Coco Khan I couldn’t agree more with you in terms of like, you know, taking attention away from Gaza. I mean, it must be particularly frustrating for you, right? Because you resigned over Labour’s position on Gaza at the time, and now they’ve come around to your position. What was that like?


Jess Phillips That’s not frustrating. That’s politics, isn’t it? That’s why you do these things, you know, like that. Like. Every every sort of step that you take when you are a political campaigner. And I still consider myself to be a political campaigner rather than just like an elected official. I’m not an I’m not a bureaucrat. I am a campaigner. And you do need to be a bit of both. But, yeah, you know, that’s the point, is to nudge people towards a different position whether I did. I’m not taking any credit for that. I don’t think that I deserve any. But yeah, it doesn’t frustrate me. It’s like you spent three years campaigning for the government to do something like. So today they announced that they would stop, people who’ve been found to be child sex offenders having access to their children. And it’s like we’ve been campaigning for it for five years. And not just on days like this. You celebrate and then you think, if you just listen to me in the first place, just so everybody’s telling me, so but, you know, that’s the whole point. You’re always there trying to nudge your position into a different place.


Coco Khan But you were a shadow minister for domestic violence, right? That’s an issue you care passionately about. Are you able to do as much work? Are you able to influence now that you’ve not been able to have that row?


Jess Phillips Okay, okay, okay. I know a lot about it. You know, that’d be foolish. The government come to me when they need help, so who knows is the truth. But they wouldn’t do anything in that particular space if, for worry that I. If I would be against it. Yeah, but then, you know, we all still work together. Loads of my constituents, bless them. They’re all such a shame we can’t vote for you any more. You still come here. But the idea that I’ve disappeared off the face of the earth, we’ll still working together. I still work on all of that policy. And the people who work on it like they work in my office.


Coco Khan So. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So on the subject of your commitment to domestic violence, I just want to talk to you about what’s become a bit of a landmark in the political calendar. Every year on International Women’s Day, you stand up in the House of Commons and recite the names of every woman killed by a man that year.


Jess Phillips I am tired of sticking plasters, of flavanols instead of welfare reforms that would stop victims ending up destitute in the first place. I am sick of this review into some home or another. That review into sexual exploitation placed on a shelf, never driven forward. I am tired that on this one day of the year of Ministers announcing a little bit of this or a little bit of that, I am tired that women’s safety matters so much less in this place than small boats. I am tired of fighting for systematic change and being given table scraps. Never again do I want to hear a politician say that lessons will be learned from abject failure. It is not true. This list is no longer just a testament to these women’s lives. It is a testament to our collective failure. At least half of the names I am about to read out could have been saved. Okay, with this year’s list. Alicia Nasira over. Beryl Purdy, Holly Bramley, Susan Turner, Bernadette Rozario, Sarah Bateman an unnamed woman.


Coco Khan So even though you do this act every year, you’re clearly moved and moved to tears said what was going on.


Jess Phillips So the families of people who were on the list this year and also previous years, there are some families who come every year a bit like, I suppose, going to the cenotaph, isn’t it? And marking it every year, if their children especially have been on the list in the past. And so, I started to read it and I looked up and as I looked up, they stood in the gallery, in respect, they all stood up, to listen to the display and it just it just you, even though I do it to humanize the people, it is a task that I have to do. And so it just reminds you immediately that these people are mums and daughters and sons and has beens and and they, you know, it’s it’s really, really sad. I felt this year, it was the ninth year at didn’t And I feel like the 10th will probably be the last is actually how I feel about it. Because I think that the, the job has been done. Actually, there is loads more attention on murdered women now. So when it was first started, it was literally like, it’s a woman called Karen Gala Smith. She had to go through like in a lot, the Leamington Spa recorder to find any note of a woman murdered. And over the years of us working on it, it it has become an issue that makes the national press. Now that people know the names of the women who get murdered, if it is because. A significant thing. And so that bit of it has done that, as I was saying in that speech. Nothing has changed and nothing and and so I feel a bit tired. And it’s not that I don’t think that, the list should always be read. I absolutely do. I do think that perhaps that I will pass that baton on to somebody else. Because this year I just felt like you’re all expecting this from me now, and, I feel a little bit like the sting has gone out, and it means so much to people in the country. I get that, and certainly to the families. But I just they sort of tolerate listening to it now and that, that I’ve just felt really, really tired.


Coco Khan So because it still feels very controversial. I mean, last year you included the name of, Breonna Joy that seemed to turn into a massive thing. I mean, did that surprise you?


Jess Phillips I didn’t include her in the the always at the end of the list, there is a couple. So there’s sometimes people who get missed off the list for start off because we it didn’t get reported somewhere and we and and it was only in the aftermath of a court case that you find out. So they get messed up. They also people who, die by suicide. But then it turns out, is because of years. Lots of families get in touch with me and asked me to include them. So there is always a bit of a supplementary on the list. And I included Brianna in that. And there was quite a lot of, conversation between. So the people who make the list, it is it is a genuinely scientific system about women who are killed by men. Now, there are two counts of controversy in the case of Breonna Taylor, is that she was also killed by a woman because at the time we didn’t well, we didn’t know whether it was a man or a woman or both of them because there were two people. So the list is actually where we don’t know, because sometimes because Sarah Everard was on the list before, like the court case and everything, because it was on the day already where her body was found. So I added to the list. So I’ve got and I’m going to give them to like the women’s library. I have to write on the list every year. So there’s always on the hard copy. There’s pencil writing because you write the list. Three. You get the list three days before, and there’s always people to add to it. And Sarah for Art is obviously the sort of famous case that got added to it. But the rule is a woman killed where the primary suspect is a man. Now, in Brianna Jay’s case, that wasn’t the case. And the list, it needs to remain as it is because it is important the understanding of male violence against women being a really specific thing. And it is important that that remains completely sacred. But we discussed it, and I ought to be perfectly honest. What I try and do is go with kindness. And I thought, how would I feel if I was her mum? Yes. And so and it really pissed a lot of people off facts or controversies.


Coco Khan I mean that sounds like an example of the toxic climate they were talking about in the CAS review, right?


Jess Phillips Yes, yes.


Coco Khan So actually, just for our listeners who haven’t necessarily heard about this last week, the Cass review into gender identity services for under 18 found that thousands of vulnerable children questioning their gender identity have been let down by the NHS pretty much because of the toxicity of the trans debate, impacting doctors and how they.


Jess Phillips Want to talk about it.


Coco Khan Yeah, I don’t really like how it’s pitched as like.


Jess Phillips One side.


Coco Khan Versus the other.


Jess Phillips But there was a moment where I thought, okay, I think this is maybe a moment where we can all talk about this actual thing. At least there is a thing now, and we can discuss this thing openly. And it certainly felt like that in Parliament. Certainly the women who have campaigned on it, it felt like that.


Coco Khan Does that mean Labour’s going to implement its recommendations?


Jess Phillips Yeah, I think I believe so, yeah. I mean that’s what we’re Streeting said. I think some of the have said that they might not do it and that obviously trusts are well they have a certain amount of autonomy, health care trusts. So it’s just how that’s how it’s all going to work. But yeah, the Labour Party said that it fully supported the Cass review.


Coco Khan Do you think that Westminster has also had a bit of soul searching about their role in the in stocking up food?


Jess Phillips No, no. I got I mean, Westminster, I think good people in Westminster have had just probably a little bit annoyed that that door might have shut a little bit for them. I don’t see what she said next, reflecting on his appalling behavior. Yeah. Well.


Nish Kumar As you said, the transgender community is a kind of political.


Coco Khan Football punching down so much.


Nish Kumar It’s sort of blew up in his face. When he made the crass remark when Brianna’s mother, was actually in the chamber.


Jess Phillips I know that he could. I mean, what a woman.


Nish Kumar Yeah


Jess Phillips I mean, she is, grandma and I work with a lot of people, who, whose family members have been murdered and that they’re all, you know, amazingly powerful. But, yeah, she’s just her light touch. She’s so normal. Like she so, like any mom, of a teenage kids. Yeah. Yeah. It’s. Yeah, it blew up in his face. No, I don’t think that most. Live reflected. I think some people are probably a bit like annoyed to that. They want to have another about if that particular cherry, but don’t worry that find something else.


Nish Kumar Let’s get onto some current party politics, because speaking of people that just take in some shit from the Conservative Party, they’ve been going in very hard the last couple of weeks. One of your colleagues, Angela Rayner, the deputy leader of the Labour Party. So she’s being investigated by police to see if she committed a crime involving the tax paid on the side of a council house nine years ago, whether she properly declared her main residence on the electoral roll. Greater Manchester Police have previously decided not to investigate, but have reversed its decision after information it received from conservative deputy party chairman James Daley, a man with nothing to gain from Angela Rayner being embroiled in any sort of legal scandal. I think we can all agree that’s the impartial observer here he is speaking on the BBC’s Politics Live show this week.


Clip What is it you think she’s done? If the police had. Originally said they didn’t think there was anything to actually respond to, what is it that you’ve brought to light that has changed that the situation is that, information was provided to Greater Manchester Police as per any other, person making a complaint or potential complaint. Greater Manchester Police have assessed that they are now carrying out an investigation, and I think that we should allow them to carry out that investigation. I still don’t. So what was the offense that you think that’s been committed? My understanding is that the Greater Manchester Police and they will correct me if I’m wrong. I’m looking at a number of different offenses here and will investigate fully, and we should give them the time and the opportunity to do that.


Nish Kumar For clarity, we should say that Angela Rayner has denied any wrongdoing and says she welcomes the chance to sit down with the appropriate authorities and decide she will step down if she’s found to have committed a crime. I people who listen to this podcast know we are not uncritical observers of the Labour Party, and certainly where there is issues we have. Yeah, we will take. Yeah, absolutely. But I don’t know how best to ask this. Is this not just a big steaming pile of horseshit?


Jess Phillips Yeah. So, look, this substantive is relatively complicated. And and it it at worst, it seems to me that Angela Rayner has made a mistake. And and might. Oh, some tax at worst, if that is found to be the case from nine years ago. I bet Angela Rayner, before she was a member of Parliament, just like me, didn’t do a tax return because most of the population have a normal job. What, you just get paid? Yeah. And so this, best it’s probably quite a complicated situation that, you know, she maybe got a bit wrong. I read this morning there were 12 police officers from Greater Manchester Police working on it. I mean, genuinely, there is not been a case I have ever handled where somebody has ended up murdered, where there was 12 police officers working on the case.


Coco Khan And if she does owe money, isn’t it like £1,500 or something?


Jess Phillips I mean, I mean, it might, might be nothing. Might be I think somebody said maximum 3,000 pounds. Yeah.


Nish Kumar I mean I imagine this has put a huge amount of strain on Angela Rayner.


Jess Phillips Massive. And actually you know, maybe she wouldn’t she won’t thank me for saying this. Especially because it came at the same week as, as, William Wragg was only trapped and the amount of sympathy. And, you know, we must be very careful. He’s fragile. He’s got mental health problems. And like Angela Rayner, she has to act tough. And she probably wouldn’t thank me for saying this. I think it’s taking a terrible strain on her.


Coco Khan Well, it’s funny, cause she.


Jess Phillips And she has two children. They’re teenagers. They’re going to school every day while their mum’s face is on the front. Do you know what? While Liz Truss was the prime minister used to favor dreams about her children, who are the exact same age as my children. I used to think, I don’t like this woman, and I think she’s upset at. But I was worried about them. And actually I’m worried again about them next week. Like I don’t feel like. The women in the eye of the storm get anywhere near the same level of concern. That’s because we in order to be taken seriously, we have to have acted tough. Angela Rayner is immensely tough. She she’s nails compared to 99% of people in Parliament. But it will be hurting her and it’s horrible.


Coco Khan There’s a part of this story that I’m like, this is single, but it’s totally it’s like, oh, council house that she bought hand out from this day, let’s police this single mum. What was your relationship with the man? Had you married the man? Were you living with the man? It’s. It’s like old school dog whistle. Tory working class, single mum.


Jess Phillips I think that’s the reason they’re going in for Rob. Because also it makes her dangerous to them. I don’t think she doesn’t deserve scrutiny. I think she absolutely deserves scrutiny. Especially because she’s been used as a, attack dog so many times. The level of it is feverishly bad. And actually, I think the public are starting to say that. Yeah, it’s not because I’ve been knocking doors all week. Nobody’s mentioned it to me, so it’s not cutting through.


Nish Kumar We also can’t help but observe the timeline as we run into some byelections and mayoral elections which.


Jess Phillips Yeah, yeah.


Nish Kumar If the polls are correct, could be hugely damaging for Rishi Sunak. Yeah, it’s hard to not perceive this as being a smear.


Jess Phillips It bit the thing the Tories I think, have fatally missed out on that. No doubt all governments and this, especially if you’ve been in for a long time, is that they could tell. Stupid. Yeah, they can see that that’s what it is. They you know like that they constantly underestimate the British public. Is my view at the moment like they’re not idiots. Like like Rishi Sunak keeps going on about the boats and he thinks that everybody’s on tenterhooks about whether the Lords will allow the boats to go through. Like they’re not my they just think your schemes rubbish and it’s not going to work like it’s. It’s very bizarre how little they understand the psyche of the British public. Yeah. But, yeah, I think it looks like it’s me. And I think the British public can say that. That’s what it is. I think that she like us. I think she deserves scrutiny. But, you know.


Coco Khan This is weird with the smears that they like, and they dredge up these myths. I was joking to Nish being like, this is why I wouldn’t go into politics, cause I’ll be like, did you do this in 2010? Yes, I did. I’m not like.


Jess Phillips You know what? You’re right. Because I my philosophy is always tell a story and then no one can sell a story. I guess I remember the first week I was in Westminster. So it’s like, have you ever taken any drugs? An interviewer was like, yeah, yeah, yeah. They’re like, which ones? I was like, name one.


Nish Kumar Yeah.


Jess Phillips And yes, like just like I’m not, I’m not, I’m not playing this game. So I’m very boring. Now, what I’ve realized is I am very boring. Angela is far more interesting. Like, she’s got a far more interesting life.


Coco Khan Yeah, but you do vape. Hello.


Jess Phillips I do vape?


Coco Khan So on the subject of vaping. Rishi Sunak’s vote successful. His legacy. What do you think?


Jess Phillips I mean I voted against my own interests. So, both of my children just missed the cut off as well. Like, my last son was born in 2008. But. Yeah. No, I mean. What I think is interesting is that every Tory who stood up and said, I’m a non smoker, right? But I think people should be able to hurt themselves if they want to. And you’re a champion if you resist it anyway. But nobody who has ever smoked thinks it’s a good idea. Not everybody who is defending it is not a smoker. It’s just the way. Real life. Yes. I started smoking when I was ten years old. I didn’t more of a barrier. It’s. It’s costing me so much. It’s costing me more money than Liz Truss. It’s. Yeah. So, like, I think it’s better if people don’t smoke.


Nish Kumar Just on the politics of it. It’s obviously not ideal for Rishi Sunak, but his signature piece of legislation was passed with so many Tory rebels. Because Labour.


Jess Phillips Well, it’s a bit like David Cameron. The only thing you can actually say, like his legacy was like gay marriage and it only passed on Labour. Yeah, right. So it’s, you know, there is a precedent here which does somewhat suggest that, you know, you need to sort of progressive, yeah. Wedge in Parliament. But, you know, I do I credit him for I think it’s a brave thing to try and do, especially considering his party, especially at the moment. I do I would credit him with that, but, it’s a weird one. It was a weird one for him to lead on the party conference. But then what else can he say? He needs some legacy.


Coco Khan So just listen, I have to ask you about Diane Abbott. We’ve been talking about the scrutiny that women politicians face. Obviously, she’s had the most of anyone. And you and her famously have a.


Jess Phillips Yeah. Fractious relationship.


Coco Khan Fractious Relationship?


Jess Phillips I think that that’s overstated. We don’t like, you know, we’re not, like, battling in the corridors or anything.


Coco Khan But like.


Jess Phillips We’re not holding the doors open for each other, saying good morning.


Coco Khan Obviously the the two big news stories recently about it was the clip that was circulated by Diane Abbott herself.


Jess Phillips Well, I’m not sure whether it was actually Diane Abbott there because she referred to herself in the third person.


Coco Khan Oh, so you think it was a.


Jess Phillips Probably someone, you know, in her office, which is very common.


Coco Khan But but nonetheless. What happened after that? Have you talked it out?


Jess Phillips I haven’t seen her.


Coco Khan Right.


Jess Phillips So I was in New York when it happened. I was at the UN, and there was this terrible moment where she was bopping in the PMQs to try and ask a question, and everybody was talking about. Yeah, I was, I was in New York for that. And it was all that week.


Coco Khan Last month, Abbott or Abbott’s team shared a clip on Twitter of Jess Phillips on Robert Peston. ITV show was a while ago, wasn’t it?


Jess Phillips Yeah.


Jess Phillips In 2016. Yeah, yeah. Years ago.


Coco Khan And you were laughing along to an impressionist doing her voice. She wrote or someone wrote on the tweet and I quote, racism is not the preserve of any one political party.


Jess Phillips I mean, I mean, I suppose that context is king, isn’t it? And that the person was doing impressions of everybody, including me, while we were there. So the clip is not the entire story, obviously. And I think she I mean, I think she’s the person who did it on Dead Ringers for years, I think. So, like, I mean, I don’t perceive that as racism, but it’s not for me to say if Diana. If it does, then you know that I have to listen to that.


Coco Khan Well, because it was the other incident that was widely reported at the time. Again, this isn’t of 2015, this incident from what you said in an interview to order to fuck off and apparently never happened. I’m just I just want to.


Jess Phillips I mean, we can dispute that. I mean, I need it as much as I’d tell anyone who was being rude to me.


Coco Khan Right?


Jess Phillips To fuck off. I do it frequently.


Coco Khan I guess. I guess, I guess sort of what I’m getting at is. Do you? You can understand why people who were not in the system, who were just observers like myself, watching as women of color. It feel sad when you see two big feminists fighting against each other.


Jess Phillips The idea of feminism isn’t all women get on with each other.


Coco Khan I know, but you know.


Jess Phillips And you know, I would, I would. I’m not sure she would say the same. That that’s for you to ask her. Not me. I would defend Diane, in all sorts of circumstances. Yeah. And the fact that we don’t get on, I mean, I defend people. I get on much worse with, in cases of, attacks. Certainly, from a feminist perspective. It doesn’t mean we have to all get on with each other all the time.


Coco Khan It’s about all agreeing. It’s more the sense that you want to have confidence with your party and your allies that they’re not going to throw you under the bus. And sometimes when you’re a woman of color, you feel that any moment someone’s going to pull the rug out from under you and sew it into that context. That’s why I think those these fights you have with Diane Abbott can make you lose confidence as a voter.


Jess Phillips But the truth is, is that the only time I’ve ever actually had a ride with Diane Abbott, she was the shadow home secretary and I was a newly elected backbencher. So the power was very much. I literally had been there for weeks. I’d been elected to Parliament for weeks. And the power was definitely not. Yeah. And she was literally on a platform. Stood me up just because of the way that the parliamentary buildings are. And so, like, you know, she came over and she was rude to me. I told her basically not to be rude to me. And that’s that’s the beginning, middle and end of it. I wouldn’t act against her. I wouldn’t see to get to try and see her got rid of. I actually think I think that the way that the Labour Party seemed to have dragged their feet, I mean, on many bloody things. My God, why is everything so slow?


Coco Khan Yeah.


Jess Phillips I think it’s woeful to her.


Nish Kumar You think she should have the whip restored.


Jess Phillips Yeah. Well, I mean, I think that this is a process. I don’t know what the situation is. I don’t know what is going on in the situation and nor should I. But of course, it like I mean, I think that the conclusion that it needs to come to a conclusion.


Nish Kumar It’s taken a year. I think that.


Jess Phillips It feels like or more like I just think that needs dealing with.


Coco Khan With. I mean, look, all I can I can only speak about it as an observer and as a voter. It’s just it’s sometimes it’s, you know, it. And I do apologize for using the language of like Twitter. But the intersectionality and, you know, you want everyone to sort of understand that, like, there are different of hardships that women of color face. And to be sensitive to those.


Jess Phillips But of course there are different hardships that women have could have. I’d like are hard. Like Angela Ryan of the intersectionality and her. I seems to be single mom class. Yeah. So of course there are. Yeah. But so then the reaction to that has to be, you don’t have political foes with those.


Coco Khan People you just don’t like. Maybe knowing that they’re constantly being assaulted all the time in the press and social media, maybe don’t insult them in the press. So insult them personally, but maybe not in the press. I don’t know, because you told the story. That’s why you want me to be.


Jess Phillips Perfectly honest, the only reason I told the story was, genuinely, because I had only been a member of Parliament that time. I didn’t realize I was telling the story. Hey, you know, I genuinely didn’t realize that it was about to be reported, otherwise I wouldn’t have done it.


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Coco Khan So I’m delighted to say that Jess Phillips is staying with us to help us with the traditional anointing of our PSUK hero and villain of the week. As is customary as our guest. You get to go first. So let’s start with the villain.


Jess Phillips Oh, there’s just so much choice. But is it specific to this week?


Coco Khan Yes.


Jess Phillips I want to say Liz Truss is the villain of the week, but I really think she’s doing God’s work. She’s helping the Labour Party, and we should have her on the telly more often. If you were one of the two journalists left, you haven’t interviewed Liz Truss, this week. Please, giver her a call.


Nish Kumar I’ve never seen a media round like it. It’s unbelievable. I’m half expecting to turn it on and see her on Graham Norton tomorrow.


Jess Phillips Oh. Hundred percent. The thing. The reason I think that she’s this week’s villain is she doesn’t believe the things she’s saying. Like, Liz Truss is a shapeshifter, and currently the grift is real. And so she’s all MAGA hat wearing them. Deep state defining. The best thing she said this week was that the latest thing was the London Liberals liked and it was in the star. She thinks that the people of Islington read the Daily Star.


Nish Kumar So she absolutely was always going to be my villan of the week this week, because I just I do find the fact that she’s called her book ten Years to Save the West. Absolutely baffling. Given her stint as prime minister did like, I mean, an al-Qaeda’s worth of damage to the West. Like, in absolute fairness to her. She’s been touring the TV radio studios, desperately tried to turn up some book sales. Let’s hear a little bit of one of God’s great orators.


Clip Great to see you. Your thoughts. Great to see you. And here’s my new book. I’ll just get it out. Sorry. There you go. There we are. Your time as prime minister left the UK as an international laughingstock. Well, I don’t I don’t think that’s true. And you lasted for you all the stuff about the last thing less time than a lot. This is just. This is just pathetic, you know, point scoring. This is the kind of thing that obsesses the kind of what I describe as the London elite. When I meet people, quite often out canvasing or out on the street, people say you did the right thing. So I think a lot of the public understand what I was trying to do. But the left have in the same way as they sort of say, you know, the government was trying to abolish the forest or they’re trying to do this. They’re trying to smear me.


Nish Kumar The first clip, from that sort of montage of lunacy that it was blighted, with her holding for the benefit of people listening to the podcast announcing that she had a copy of her book with her holding it up backwards, then turning it round and it turning out. It was also upside down. That was part of an interview she did with Fox News, where she, endorsed Donald Trump for president and said that the world was safer, while he was president, in what I think is the first good piece of news for Joe Biden in a while, Liz Truss, said her thoughts on being told of the Queens death. Well, why me? And why the hell is this? This is all extracts from her book.


Coco Khan Main character energy. Hey.


Nish Kumar She said the day Kwasi Kwarteng delivered the mini budget to the coffers was her happiest moment as prime minister. There were many of them. She. There’s a long anecdote about protein shakes labeled raw being in the fridge at evening. She talked about how Johnson branded Michael Gove a leaker. She complained, having to organize her own hair and make appointments. She ordered furniture for ten Downing Street, but had to leave before it could be delivered to the Labour Party. Just rub their hands with glee every time she opens her mouth.


Jess Phillips I’m a sellout. She’s a delight. I felt like literally doing a ticker tape parade in Yardley when she became the leader of the Conservative Party. I thought, oh, what are you doing? You absolute lunatics.


Coco Khan The signs were there, right? Pork markets. That was her first meme moment.


Jess Phillips Because. Because that being so big on TikTok, they can do that whole host of them, like, with absolute stress that this is a disgrace. Whenever I do anything my son says to me, this is a disgrace.


Nish Kumar I mean, I think, I hope people who listen this podcast know my views. Obviously sadak brackets very much not positive, but in the leadership hustings, he he did say that if she enacted the plans that she was promising, it would lead to a kind of economic meltdown. She does deserve credit for being the one politician to carry out her plans once he got into office.


Jess Phillips That’s true. You know, she did. She did warn us. But that’s like, like sort if abusers will do, I warned you I had a temper temper? It’s like, you know, like love. That’s not an excuse. She’s just an absolute gift to, to the Labour Party and any opponent of the Conservative Party.


Nish Kumar Let’s take it is right that Liz Truss is everyone’s villain of the week. Jess, did you have a hero of the week or is it also Liz Truss.


Jess Phillips Yeah, I could totally plump for Liz Truss.


Coco Khan Well, mine is, Hannah Waddingham, who we know from Tad Lasso Everyone always talks about her as Ted Lasso. But excuse me, she’s a star of musical theater and, also.


Nish Kumar Game of Thrones.


Coco Khan And Game of Thrones and Eurovision.


Nish Kumar Yeah.


Jess Phillips Was she in Game of Throne?


Nish Kumar She was. Yeah, yeah.


Jess Phillips Who was she?


Coco Khan She marched Cersei Lannister on her walk of shame.


Jess Phillips Oh she did! Shame. Shame. You’re right. She she.


Coco Khan It’s hard to tell her to.


Jess Phillips Hard to tell. You’re right.


Coco Khan But, the reason I’m talking about Hannah Waddingham is that ahead of Sunday’s Olivier Awards, which she was presenting, Hannah was posing for photographers on the steps of the Royal Albert Hall when one photographer, a man, obviously called out to her to show some leg. And this is how she responded.


Clip Oh my God. You’d never say that to a man. Don’t say show me your leg.  Don’t be a dick, I’ll move off.


Coco Khan So what happened in that clip was a photographer, a male photographer, called out to Hannah Waddingham and said, please show some legs. She didn’t say please. And I went, I did that embellishment. She responded by saying, you’d never say that to a man. Don’t say, show me some leg. And as she walked away, she added, have some manners. She also said, you know, if you say that to me again, I’m going to move off, i.e. I’m going to finish this photoshoot and cancel the opportunity for other photographers, which she then did, which I really liked. It’s all remind me of if you ever misbehaved in P.E., the teacher would come and take the bull and be like, right, that’s it. None of you are playing. It’s over. Game over. And I respect that energy because it’s, you know, there is a culture with celebrity coverage where they ask famous women to show certain parts, and then it ends up on the sidebar of shame in the Daily Mail of X, y, z flaunting x, y, z. And it’s so low and I’m just over it. And ultimately, you need all photographers and everyone in the press to take responsibility for that. So I’m like, yeah, Hannah, punish them all, punish them all, and say, none of you are getting a photo of me today. Also, she did it in her way, which was extremely charming and lovely.


Jess Phillips But I actually what I find of saying she was absolutely brilliant. But women who have to speak back against this stuff will learn a certain way of doing it. And so she referred to him as my friend. She said, oh yeah, there’s a, there’s a, there’s a tiny bit of slight in it. It my friend and I sort of like she, it’s slightly condescending, but also she’s doing it because she doesn’t want to be appearing like she’s a massive pain in the ass, like she’s being a diva. So she has obviously learned over years and years and years the way to do this. And actually loads of women come to me and said, oh, you know, how do I call this stuff out? And actually, like, humor is the best way. If you’re if you’re funny and you can like, turn it into a gag, it will stop people thinking you are a massive bitch. But like, if she’d just been like, oh, fuck off, like, you know, no, I won’t fucking do it. Like, she would have, you know, it would have been a different news story. And so the way she managed it was of a woman, like, sort of gazelle like practice of of slaloming.


Coco Khan It wouldn’t be like Hannah Waddingham to be like, you can fuck off, mate. You’re a twit.


Nish Kumar Well, she’s a on full Prescott punishing bloke.


Jess Phillips You know. Oh, I definitely would have been like, fuck you.


Coco Khan That is a lovely place to end our show. Jess Phillips, thank you so much for joining us on  Pod Save the UK today.


Jess Phillips Thank you very much for having me. It’s been a pleasure.


Nish Kumar Thank you Jess. If you want to get in touch with us, you can please do that by emailing We also really love to hear your voices, so if you’re feeling brave, send us a voice note on WhatsApp. Our number is 07494 933444. Internationally, that’s +44 7494 933444.


Coco Khan It’s a new number, so please write it down.


Nish Kumar It’s a new number. Which is why, as I was saying that I sounded like Bambi on the ice.


Coco Khan Don’t forget to follow us. We’re at Pod Save the UK on Instagram and Twitter, and you can also find us on YouTube for access to full episodes and other exclusive content. If you like to drop us a review, we would also like it very much. Although, you know, we generally have one rule which is positive views only, everything else will be rejected.


Nish Kumar This is an echo chamber.


Coco Khan Democracy only works when it’s what I would hear.


Nish Kumar Pod Save the UK is a Reduced Listening production for Crooked Media.


Coco Khan Thanks to senior producer Musty Aziz and digital producer Alex Bishop.


Nish Kumar Video editing was by David Kaplowitz. The music is by Vasilis Fotopoulos.


Coco Khan Thanks to our engineer Alex Bennett.


Nish Kumar The executive producers are Anoushka Sharma, Dan Jackson and Madeleine Herringer. With additional support from Ari Schwartz.


Coco Khan And remember to hit subscribe for new shows on Thursdays on Amazon, Spotify, Apple or wherever you get your podcasts.