As Jess Phillips withdraws John Howarth MEP backs Keir Starmer for Labour Leader

After Jess Phillips withdrawal from the Labour Leadership contest on 21 January, John issued the following statement:

“I nominated Jess Philips for Labour Leader in the forthcoming election and so am of course disappointed that she has made the decision to stand down.

“Jess has a different approach – honest and straightforward. She speaks as she finds, something I ​believe is essential we have more of in our politics. She enjoys a good level of support among young people, which is a valuable asset. I also thought Boris Johnson would find her a real challenge at the ​despatch box. I’m sure she will continue to make a unique and significant contribution to public life

​“Of the remaining candidates I am happy now to endorse Keir Starmer for Leader. It was always a difficult choice between very different people.

He is someone I, and I believe Labour voters, can see standing on the steps of Downing Street as their new Prime Minister. Keir is manifestly competent. Over the past three years I have watched him, listened to him and he regularly met with Labour MEPs and listened to us.

He ​has the forensic ability and experience to hold Boris Johnson to account. Brexit is not going away. Keir is hugely well informed on the subject and best placed to make the arguments against a disastrous no deal which will be catastrophic for our country and hold the Government to account.”