Jess Phillips says Harry and Meghan are 'making the right decision'

George Martin
File photo dated 11/5/2019 of Jess Phillips, who has said she may consider running for the party leadership if Jeremy Corbyn stands down.
Jess Phillips said she supports the monarchy and the Queen. (PA)

Jess Phillips has said she supports the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their controversial decision to step back from royal duties.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, the Labour leadership hopeful was asked whether she had sympathy with the royal couple.

“I’ve got sympathy with her. I think they are making the right decision,” she told the newspaper.

Ms Phillips, one of six MPs currently vying to take over from Jeremy Corbyn, was also asked whether she supported the monarchy.

January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-375/STAR MAX/IPx 2017 11/27/17 His Royal Highness Prince Harry Of Wales and Ms. Meghan Markle are engaged to be married. The wedding will take place in Spring 2018. The couple became engaged in London earlier this month. Prince Harry informed The Queen and other close members of his family and also sought and received the blessing of Ms. Markle's parents. (London, England)
The royal couple's decision to step back from royal duties caused a furore earlier this week. (AP)

“It’s been a crappy week, hasn’t it?” she added, “And before that it has been a bad month. But the Queen, I think, is fit for purpose.”

It comes just days after Ms Phillips’ fellow leadership contender Clive Lewis called for a referendum on the future of the royal family.

The shadow Treasury minister called for the poll as part of a package of sweeping constitutional reforms, including the introduction of proportional representation.

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Speaking at a campaign event in south London, Mr Lewis said: “Why not have a referendum in this country on the future of the royal family?

“We are a democracy. I’d rather see us as citizens rather than subjects in the 21st century.”

He added: “Let’s look at what a modern state looks like and what the role of the royal family would be.”

Mr Lewis currently has just four nominations from MPs and MEPs – 18 short of the total he needs to secure by 2.30pm on Monday if he is to make it through to the next stage of the contest.

Four other contenders – Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Ms Phillips – have already secured the support they need to go forward.

Ms Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, compared the “hostility” she had experienced from some sections of the press to that suffered by the Duchess of Sussex.

“Meghan, she’s talked about hostility from other kind of sections of the press,” she said.

“Certainly one of the things I’ve witnessed in my early days of my campaign – this was even before I’d decided to stand as leader – were the levels of abuse and the fact that I was getting targeted above all the other candidates for some reason.

“It seemed quite hostile and I think she’s faced horrific abuse within the press and that’s not acceptable. Don’t attack a woman for the sake of attacking a woman.”

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