Dame Margaret Hodge: In last few weeks I’ve had more abuse than ever
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JLM One Day Conference

Dame Margaret Hodge: In last few weeks I’ve had more abuse than ever

Senior Jewish Labour MP tells JLM One Day Conference of unprecedented levels of hate she is sent, during session featuring former colleagues Ruth Smeeth and Louise Ellman

Dame Margaret Hodge, Parliamentary Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, during a press conference by the JLM at the offices of Mishcon de Reya in London, following the publication of damming anti-Semitism report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
Dame Margaret Hodge, Parliamentary Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, during a press conference by the JLM at the offices of Mishcon de Reya in London, following the publication of damming anti-Semitism report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

Labour grandee Margaret Hodge said she was receiving an unprecedented amount of abuse, despite the change in party leadership.

Speaking during the Jewish Labour Movement’s One Day Conference, held in partnership with Labour Friends of Israel, the MP for Barking said: “During these last couple of weeks, I’ve had more abuse than ever. It’s always much worse against women. (Louise and I) get abused because we are women, Jewish and are older. Those three things coming together get people going to us.

“It’s not just the abuse itself, it’s also the fake news. Over recent times, the moment I say anything a whole load of it goes onto social media. The abuse is still virulent and horrible, and it’s muddled with this fake news stuff.

“If you say something often enough, people begin to believe it as fact.”

The Labour grandee’s comments came during a session exploring the experiences of three female Jewish Labour MPs: Ruth Smeeth, Margaret Hodge and Louise Ellman.

Louise Ellman, the former MP for Liverpool Riverside who resigned from the party in October 2019, added:

“I found the last few years personally, as well as politically, absolutely devastating. I never dreamt I’d feel forced to leave the Labour Party after 55 years. I suffered from antisemitism locally in my CLP and was deeply affected by the antisemitism taking hold of my party nationally.

Ruth Smeeth, Margaret Hodge and Louise Ellman

“I’ve always known about left wing antisemitism but it’s only in the last few years that I’ve experienced it in all its ugliness first-hand.”

Looking ahead, Hodge added: “We now have Keir Starmer who is showing huge strength, determination and bravery in taking on the argument on our behalf. And we’ve got to stand behind him and help him onwards.”

I found the last few years personally, as well as politically, absolutely devastating

Ruth Smeeth, who lost her parliamentary seat in 2019, concluded: “We stayed to fight with so many women in JLM to fix this. At that point it was us versus the Labour Party.

“Now it’s the Labour Party versus racism- or at least that’s what Keir Starmer has promised us.”

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