Labour MP Jess Phillips has taken to the streets to get a taste of life as a Big Issue vendor.
The Birmingham Yardley politician joined Big Issue vendor Michael Hadley, 25, on his pitch on Piccadilly Arcade in the second city on April 26 to experience the challenges of selling the magazine first-hand. Phillips admitted that she “felt invisible” after spending an hour on the pitch, selling two copies of the magazine.
“It was a good experience and the sun was shining throughout,” said Phillips, who was first elected to the Birmingham Yardley constituency in 2013. “I managed to sell two magazines – the first person I sold to had no idea who I was but I think the second one knew that I was an MP.
“Michael was very nice and he gave me a few tips on how to sell, which was very helpful.”
Phillips, who featured in The Big Issue’s Letter To My Younger Self section in February, admitted that the eye-opening experience has changed her perspective on the challenges involved in selling the magazine.
“After the experience, I’ll always buy The Big Issue. I know a lot of people walk past vendors – I have done it in the past – and I will make sure, as a politician, that I will do all I can for people on the streets,” said Phillips.