Defiant Margaret Hodge insists she was right to call Jeremy Corbyn anti-Semitic

Posted On: 
18th July 2018

Labour MP Margaret Hodge has doubled down on her criticism of Jeremy Corbyn by insisting she was right to call him "an anti-Semitic racist" to his face.

Margaret Hodge said she was right to confront Jeremy Corbyn over anti-Semitism
Credit: 
PA Images

The confrontation between Ms Hodge and the Labour leader came after the party's National Executive Committee endorsed a controversial new code of conduct on anti-Jewish abuse.

Jewish groups, religious leaders and Labour MPs have reacted angrily after party bosses refused to fully endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism.

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According to HuffPost, the Barking MP told him: "You’re a f*****g anti-Semite and a racist. You have proved you don’t want people like me in the party."

But a friend of Mrs Hodge, who lost relatives in the Holocaust, insisted she had not sworn at the Labour leader.

"She said 'you are an anti-Semitic racist'," said the friend. "When he protested, she said 'it is not what you say but what you do and by your actions you have shown you are an anti-Semitic racist'."

Labour has announced that "action will be taken" against the Barking MP after her outburst in the House of Commons, prompting a fresh row between MPs and the party leadership.

Writing in the Guardian, Mrs Hodge attacked the leadership’s “arrogance” for thinking it knew better than the Crown Prosecution Service, the Government, more than 100 councils and dozens of other countries by not fully adopting the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

She said: "A definition of sexual harassment agreed without the explicit endorsement of women would be unconscionable. A definition of Islamophobia that was rejected by the Muslim community would never be entertained. Yet a definition that rolls over the sensibilities of Jews who are the victims of this racism is somehow OK."

Mrs Hodge, who has been an MP since 1994 and was a minister in the last Labour government, said the party's new code of conduct meant a party member "can call a Jew a Nazi and face little consequence".

She said: "There was a simple and straightforward alternative that Labour could have chosen. The party could have adopted the international definition in full and it could have launched an inclusive consultation, involving Palestinians and Jews to add to that definition if further clarification of the right to criticise the Israeli government was needed. Instead it chose to offend Jews.

"It chose to make the party a hostile environment for Jews. It chose to entrench anti-Semitism.

"I chose to confront Jeremy directly and personally to express my anger and outrage. I stand by my action as well as my words."

The incident once again highlighted the tensions within the party on the issue of anti-Semitism.

On Monday evening, Labour MPs backed a motion calling on the party's NEC to back the IHRA guidelines on the issue.