Margaret Hodge: It’s still worth fighting for heart and soul of Labour

Margaret Hodge: It’s still worth fighting for heart and soul of Labour

In an interview with Jewish News, Dame Margaret Hodge explained her reasons for staying in the party.

Dame Margaret Hodge MP
Dame Margaret Hodge MP

In an interview with Jewish News, Dame Margaret Hodge has explained her reasons for staying in the Labour Party despite its handling of antisemitism. 

The Jewish MP for Barking and Dagenham said: “The Labour Party has been around for well over a hundred years, and I’ve been a member for 56 years.

“At the moment, for me I think it’s worth fighting for the heart and soul of my party.

“I am a fighter. I’ve fought the BNP. I’ve fought the fascists on the right, and I will fight the fascists on the left for the heart of the soul of the party that I give my life to.”

However, when asked whether she believed Corbyn should become Prime Minister, she replied: “We’re miles from that. We are years from that. There’s not going to be an election until 22.”

She added: “I do know that the conservative government have created havoc for the lives of the people I’m elected to represent in Barking in terms of increasing inequality, benefits cuts for people with disabilities, failure to provide decent housing at a price people can afford.”

Hodge also addressed accusations from Corbyn that she had “breached his trust” by recording a meeting with the Labour leader last week without his permission.

“The real breach of trust is between the Labour Party leadership and the Jewish community. That’s where the trust has gone”, she said.

“I didn’t record for a purpose. I recorded because I have lost trust in him, and I didn’t want anybody in the future to be able to misinterpret.”

Hodge, who accused this week Lord Falconer, the Labour peer tipped to head an inquiry into the party’s handling of complaints about antisemitism, of not being independent.

She said: “If this was about Islamophobia or about racism against BAME communities, we would think about appointing somebody from that community, a person of colour or a person of Muslim faith would be appointed.

“It would be much more appropriate to have somebody from the Jewish community appointed, and I would have somebody completely outside politics, perhaps a retired high court judge or someone like that who has no connections.”

When asked what changes she would like to see in the party, Hodge suggested Corbyn make a public pledge that George Galloway will never be readmitted to the party.

The MP also called on the leadership to suspend the Labour Party in Louise Ellman’s constituency, after the Liverpool Riverside MP allegedly faced a campaign of intimidation by Labour activists in her constituency. 

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