Labour MPs say women have faced abuse and intimidation throughout election campaign

Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips and Birmingham Ladywood MP Shabana Mahmood say they have experienced aggression, abuse and intimidation whilst campaigning. Credit: ITV News Central

Words by ITV News Central Content Editor Charlie Horner

Two Birmingham Labour MPs have spoken of the abuse and intimidation women have repeatedly experienced during the general election campaign.

Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips said she has been faced with "terrible aggression" as well as "lies, misinformation and people seeking to divide".

Shabana Mahmood, who is the MP for Birmingham Ladywood, has also opened up about having abuse hurled at her in the street and masked men trying to frighten women who were in meetings talking about politics.

Jess Phillips hung onto the Birmingham Yardley seat she has held since 2015 and she was defending a majority of around 10,000.

The MP won the seat but with a much-reduced majority, gaining 11,275 votes - while The Workers Party of Britain candidate Jody McIntyre received 10,582 votes.

  • 'Massive overtones of misogyny, hatred, threat and violence'

In parts of Birmingham many voters' thoughts are with those whose lives have been upended or lost as part of the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict.

There is anger over how politicians have handled the conflict and - despite Phillips resigning from the shadow cabinet over the Labour party's position - many of those challenging her felt a vote for Jess was a vote for Keir Starmer.

Speaking after she was re-elected she said: "I have to say the women in this election campaign have faired considerably worse than any of the men in our city with regard to the threat and aggression.

"There have been massive overtones of misogyny, hatred, threat and violence."

"One of my activists had her tyres slashed, another woman was constantly being filmed while she was walking down the street, I will not tolerate it."

"And do you know what none of those actions do? Save a single child in Gaza", she added.

She added that female members of parliament always face a huge level of threat but during this campaign the threat towards Asian women has been particularly "hard to tolerate".

As she spoke on the stage at the International Conference Centre in Birmingham following her reelection, the MP was jeered and booed.

"You can't bear seeing a strong woman up here", she responded from the stage as men shouted "shame on you" at her.

Meanwhile, Birmingham Ladywood MP Shabana Mahmood said she has also experienced intimidation.

"This campaign has been different, it has been marked by huge amounts of intimidation, threats, we've had masked men outside meetings trying to frighten the women inside talking about politics", she said.

  • "We've had insults hurled at our activists"

Mahmood continues: "We've had insults hurled at our activists and myself personally in the streets of Birmingham.

"That is completely unacceptable and I hope that all decent and fair minded people will acknowledge that this is not something that is welcome in our politics and we will unite to stamp it out."

The reelected said she had to have a police escort as she campaigned on the final day of the election and conversations need to be had around the risks that candidates face and how elections are conducted.

"I want women to feel confident participating in our democracy as activists, as candidates, as future politicians. I want to be able to be somebody who can break down barriers for women in the future."

"I have to say I know from my own experiences in this campaign there is a huge amount of work to do", she adds.

Have you heard our new podcast Talking Politics? Every day in the run-up to the election Tom, Robert and Anushka dig into the biggest issues dominating the political agenda…