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

Jess Phillips said she supports the monarchy and the Queen. (PA)
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.

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“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.

The royal couple's decision to step back from royal duties caused a furore earlier this week. (AP)
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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