Labour in fresh row with MP Margaret Hodge as she compares party probe to Nazi Germany

Posted On: 
17th August 2018

Labour MP Margaret Hodge has likened finding out about a party investigation into her confrontation with Jeremy Corbyn to being "a Jew in Germany in the 30s".

The Barking MP said 'it felt almost as if they were coming for me' when she found out about a Labour investigation
Credit: 
PA

The senior MP faced an internal probe after an angry confrontation with Mr Corbyn, in which she is alleged to have called the Labour leader an "anti-Semite" and a "racist" over his handling of anti-Jewish abuse in the party.

The party's investigation has now been dropped after Ms Hodge launched legal action.

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But the Barking MP - whose Jewish parents fled Nazi Germany - said "it felt almost as if they were coming for me" when she found out about the inquiry.

"It's rather difficult to define but there's that fear and it reminded me of what my dad used to say," she told Sky News

"He always said to me as a child: 'You've got to keep a packed suitcase at the door Margaret, in case you ever have got to leave in a hurry.'

"And when I heard about the disciplinary, my emotional response resonated with that feeling of fear, that clearly was at the heart of what my father felt when he came to Britain."

The comparison prompted an angry response from Labour, which said the Barking MP's claim was "disconnected from reality".

A spokesperson said: "Jeremy is determined to tackle anti-Semitism in the Labour party, so Jewish people feel it is a warm and welcoming home.

"The comparison of the Labour party’s disciplinary process with the Nazi Germany is so extreme and disconnected from reality, it diminishes the seriousness of the issue of anti-Semitism."

MCCLUSKEY 'TRIVIALISING' ABUSE

Elsewhere in her interview, Ms Hodge pushed back at claims by Unite union general secretary Len McCluskey that some Labour MPs were "exploiting" the anti-Semitism row to damage Mr Corbyn.

She said: "I find that offensive, I think that's trivialising the issue of anti-Semitism to pretend that somehow we're using that for cheap party political purposes.

"I'm not, and I think most of those colleagues who are with me, Jews and non-Jewish MPs feel exactly the same as I do."

The Barking MP also warned of a concerted "purge of people who disagree with Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters", and hit out at what she called the "cult of Corbyn".

"We've got the growth of populism, whether it's Trump, whether it's Boris Johnson, and now whether it's the cult of Corbynism which allows these attitudes to emerge. That's what scares me," she said.

"I wasn't alive in the 1930s… but it sort of makes you feel that if you don't stand up against it then what are you allowing to occur?"

Her intervention came as Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell warned Labour MPs against "exploiting" concerns over anti-Semitism "as a cover for launching a new political party".