Jess Phillips: Theresa May is not very human

The MP spoke at the Edinburgh TV Festival.

Labour MP Jess Phillips has said that former prime minister Theresa May is “not very human”.

The representative for Birmingham Yarldey said the former PM’s confession that she ran through wheat fields was testament to her personality.

Ms Phillips said that although not everyone in Parliament has to be charismatic, the previous Tory leader would be “crap” on TV.

Conservative Party annual conference 2018
Ex-PM Theresa May has been criticised by Jess Phillips (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The Labour MP added that politicians reaching outside traditional channels to communicate with the public was a legitimate way to campaign, although women were likely to be criticised more than men for attempting to raise their profile.

Phillips spoke to comedian Joe Lycett at the Edinburgh TV Festival, where she lamented the lack of personal charisma possessed by Mrs May.

She said: “She’s the only person I’ve ever met who actually gives off cold air. She’s not very human.

“We don’t all have to be avuncular of charismatic.

“We shouldn’t criticise people who are cold and like a crypt keeper.

“Theresa May would be crap on the telly. The whole wheat field thing was an example of of that.

“She had other skills. It turns out being prime minister was not one of them.”

Ms Phillips said that her own career has been helped by her accent, and her personability.

The Labour politician said that appearing on Celebrity Bake Off was a legitimate way to reach the public, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson had enjoyed similar TV appearances before his rise to power.

She said: “I think that to limit yourself only to audiences that are interested in politics, traditional politics like watching Newnsight.

“It’s really ridiculous to be snobby and to limit yourself. But it’s also incredibly risky politically to do those things.

“Especially if you’re a woman. People will say you’re stupid and an attention seeker and you’re doing this for you. Boris Johnson never had those things said about him.”

She added on her own media portrayals as a working-class Birmingham woman: “It has been the greatest asset to me to have a regional accent In a political career definitely.

“I think that they absolutely would accept a Brummie Prime Minister. They trust me because I have a regional accent.”

Ms Phillips said politicians are afraid to confront religious communities and has called protests against LGBT education in Birmingham schools “bigoted”.

The Labour MP said that people are “nervous” about doing the right thing.

She added: “People are really anxious about standing up against religious communities and feel that you have to triangulate and play the percentages.

“The reality is there is right and wrong in this situation, one is bigoted.”

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