Jeremy Corbyn's first PLP meeting as the leader of the Labour party got off to a shaky start as MPs failed to applaud him. Happily, the attention was soon taken away from him, as a row erupted between his shadow international development minister and a Labour backbencher.
Diane Abbott attempted to scold the newbie Labour MP Jess Phillips for asking a 'sanctimonious' question about why all the top four shadow cabinet jobs had gone to men. With Phillips telling Abbott to 'f--- off', Corbyn has since been criticised for not stepping in to stop the argument. Today's Times suggests that Corbyn's romantic fling with Abbott back in the 70s could have played a factor in his decision.
However, Phillips says that 'it was nothing to do with the fact they were lovers' that Corbyn failed to come to her aid; 'He probably knows what she’s like and thought there’s little point'. In an interview with the Huffington Post, the Labour MP says she was only saying what a lot of her colleagues had wished they had said to Abbott many times. She adds that the opportunity to tell Abbott to 'f--- off' 'presents itself every other minute'.
'People said to me they had always wanted to say that to her, and I don’t know why they don’t as the opportunity presents itself every other minute. I said: "Who the f--- do you think you are?"'
Although Phillips has now extended an olive branch to Corbyn with a blog entitled 'being human', after this outburst Mr S can't see her getting promoted while Abbott is still on the scene.