Dame Margaret Hodge has said if Jeremy Corbyn “accepts responsibility” and offers a “complete apology” it would be “wrong not to let him back in” to the Parliamentary Labour Party.
The veteran Labour MP said it was unlikely the former leader would make such an admission, calling him “incredibly obstinate, pretty vain” and claiming he “just doesn’t like Jews”.
Speaking on the JN Podcast this week, the Barking politician who is the parliamentary chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, reflected on Sunday’s JLM One Day Conference, featuring Keir Starmer, seven shadow front bench politicians, and Lord Mandelson.
This comes after Jeremy Corbyn was suspended by the Labour Party in wake of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) report into antisemitism, after he said antisemitism had been “dramatically overstated”.
He was allowed back in two weeks later after saying it had not been “exaggerated” – but Starmer declined to restore the parliamentary whip.
Hodge, who made headlines in July 2018, calling Corbyn “an antisemite and a racist” told the podcast: “If Jeremy Corbyn accepts responsibility for what happened on his watch, accepts the EHRC report in its entirety and proffers an apology and absolutely complete apology, I think in those circumstances, I think it would be wrong not to let him back in but he has to be willing to do that.
“And just let me say my experience of him is that he’s incredibly obstinate. He’s pretty vain… And he just doesn’t like Jews.”
Asked by host Phil Dave whether she would have quit the party if Corbyn was let back last month, she said she found herself “in a really difficult position”.
“I hated having to talk about Jeremy after the EHRC report was published”, adding that “we should have been focusing on the findings of the report.”
She criticised Corbyn’s “ridiculous intervention” which “made himself the centre of the story again” while also hitting out at his “total refusal to accept the extent of antisemitism as documented in a report put forward by a statutory body”.
“There’s a lot of antisemitism at the heart of the party, and Corbyn himself and his team did politically interfere in the complaints process and effort and driving up his failure to accept that, I think was intolerable. “
Praising Starmer’s actions tackling antisemitism since he took over earlier in 2020, she said he “is doing a very good job.
“I didn’t actually support him for leader I supported Lisa Nandy.. But I have been really heartened by Keir’s performance not just on antisemitism, but on a whole range of issues. Since he became leader. I’m totally behind him.
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