Jess Phillips calls on Prime Minister to deselect Liz Truss over interview on ‘hateful platform’

Jess Phillips (left) has urged Rishi Sunak to deselect Liz Truss (right) over her interview on Lotus Eaters website
Jess Phillips (left) has urged Rishi Sunak to deselect Liz Truss (right) over her interview on Lotus Eaters website - Matt Writtle/Andrew Crowley

Jess Phillips has urged Rishi Sunak to deselect Liz Truss as a Conservative candidate over a forthcoming interview.

Ms Truss will be interviewed later today for the Lotus Eaters web series, a platform founded by Carl Benjamin.

In 2019, Mr Benjamin prompted controversy after it emerged he tweeted “I wouldn’t even rape you” at Ms Phillips.

Ms Phillips, who is standing for re-election as the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, said in a letter to the Prime Minister: “The impact men like Benjamin have on politics cannot be understated.

“Men like Benjamin make female MPs live in fear, while discouraging women from standing in future, weakening our democracy in the process.“

She added: “It is clear that anyone willing to appear on this hateful platform is not suitable to be a candidate for any political party. Even Reform UK deselected one of its candidates after his harmful views and work as a content creator for Lotus Eaters was exposed.

“If you have any decency, you will deselect Liz Truss as Conservative candidate for South West Norfolk. Anything less than this will show how weak you are and how far the Conservative Party has sunk.”

Benjamin “Beau” Dade was dropped as Reform’s candidate for Swindon South following an investigation by campaign group Hope Not Hate in March. According to the Lotus Eaters website, he currently works full-time as a content creator.

Responding to Ms Phillips’ letter on X, formerly Twitter, Mr Benjamin claimed to have been “attacked and misrepresented”.

“I would normally ignore such pettiness on Phillips’ part, but I feel compelled to respond to the flagrant misinformation and outright lies about my character that Phillips tells, as she appears to have built up an absurd boogeyman of me in her head that she seeks to employ as a partisan weapon against conservatives,” he said.

He claimed to have “a long-standing record of activism to promote awareness of violence against women and girls where the politically correct consensus least likes to look”, and said he takes the subject of women’s safety “very seriously”.

He added: “Moreover, there are not and have never been any accusations against me, and I am confident that all of the women I know would readily attest that I have been nothing but a gentleman in all of our interactions.

“Phillips claims that ‘men like Benjamin’ make female MPs ‘live in fear’, which is a very difficult thing to believe. If there is a climate of fear for female MPs, and MPs more generally, it surely must originate from the terrorist attacks which claimed the lives of Jo Cox and Sir David Amess. It’s hard to believe that parliamentarians live in fear of YouTubers making jokes, when the apparently real threat of terrorism looms over their heads, as Sir Lindsay Hoyle noted in Parliament recently.”

He also rejected what he described as “misinformation” about his political opinions and affiliations included in Ms Phillips’ letter.

‘Mainstream conservative publication’

He added: “Finally, to call Lotuseaters a ‘hateful’ platform is to have had no engagement with it; a core part of our mission is to nurture ‘men with chests’, that is, an audience who loves and appreciates their own country, its history, its culture, and its customs, and understands how our countries merit this love. It’s hard to believe Phillips knows anything about our work.

“We are a popular and mainstream conservative publication, which is well-liked and well-respected by our peers, because of the work we do with them. It is natural that a conservative such as Liz Truss would want to speak to us to help facilitate an interesting exchange of ideas and for her to speak directly to the conservative base without fear.

“Why the Conservative Party would even consider taking lectures from a partisan socialist MP like Phillips is too absurd to contemplate.

“I am not particularly interested in Phillips and it is only when she, as a person in power, takes the time to publicly attack me, a private citizen, and my business that it becomes necessary to address her dishonesty and misinformation.”

Ms Truss has been the Tory MP for South West Norfolk since 2010 and has been re-selected to contest the seat in the general election.

She became the shortest-serving prime minister in UK history when she resigned after just 44 days in office in 2022.

Sharing her letter to Mr Sunak on X, Ms Phillips said: “This action which I do not take lightly will bring abuse and threat to my door, but I have to stand up for what I think is right, I will now log off here for a while because I’m busy and I know what’s coming. This should never be part of the job.”

Lotus Eaters and Ms Truss have been approached for comment.