DEMAND AN END TO POVERTY THIS GENERAL ELECTION
TAKE ACTION
Activism

Labour’s Jess Phillips takes on Big Issue sell-off challenge

Phillips admitted that she “felt invisible” after spending an hour on the pitch

Jess Phillips

Jess Phillips took to the streets in 2018 to have a go selling The Big Issue in Birmingham

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.

Jess Phillips
Michael-Hadley-Jess-Phillips
Vendor Michael Hadley showed Jess Phillips the ropes in Birmingham

“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.

“I found it to be a fascinating experience to see how people ignore you and how you can feel invisible. I felt a lot of people were looking away from me.

“Selling the magazine first-hand showed me the challenges that people face and the level of independence that they get when they are doing something gainful with their life like this.”

Jess Phillips
Michael-Hadley-Jess-Phillips
Vendor Michael Hadley showed Jess Phillips the ropes in Birmingham

Big Issue West Midlands team leader Jon Hyde said: “It was a pleasure to have Jess sell the magazine as she really engaged with the vendor and got stuck in to the whole process without any pretension.

“I’d like to thank her for taking time out of her busy work and family life to sell the magazine and it was certainly interesting that Jess felt invisible while wearing the tabard, I hope it was an enlightening experience for her.”

Join The Ride Out Recession Alliance

The Ride Out Recession Alliance (RORA) will develop and implement practical steps and solutions to prevent families losing their homes, and help people remain in employment.

Learn More

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Hollyoaks legend Emily Burnett: 'With the right people behind you, you can do anything'
Learning Disability Week 2024

Hollyoaks legend Emily Burnett: 'With the right people behind you, you can do anything'

Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke: 'Surviving brain injuries gave me a fire to keep going'
Exclusive

Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke: 'Surviving brain injuries gave me a fire to keep going'

'We are here and we exist': Inside the neighbourhood offering sanctuary to queer Russians and Ukrainians
Pride

'We are here and we exist': Inside the neighbourhood offering sanctuary to queer Russians and Ukrainians

Actor Liz Carr says it hurts to hear her younger self 'wanted to die'
Liz Carr
Disability rights

Actor Liz Carr says it hurts to hear her younger self 'wanted to die'

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know