Dame Margaret Hodge MP won re-selection as Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Barking on Monday in a local constituency meeting that featured troubling tropes and discussion of antisemitism.
Among the grievances against Dame Margeret were that she was not sufficiently behind “our leader” Jeremy Corbyn, in whom she has previously moved a vote of no confidence.
Reportedly, of the six questions posed to Dame Margaret during the hustings, one asked for her personal definition of antisemitism. Her Wikipedia page had also apparently been edited to call her a “blatant fascist” and a defender of Nazism, despite her parents having in fact had their German citizenship withdrawn by the Nazi regime.
According to one witness who claimed prior to the meeting that she had “seen no evidence of antisemitism in the Labour Party”, by the meeting’s end she had changed her view: “I was sat at the back of the hall and I heard people saying that antisemitism had been made up by Margaret Hodge. They were saying things like ‘she’s filthy rich’. I felt disbelief and disappointment that this attitude is present in the Labour Party.”
Activists who came from elsewhere and remained outside the meeting reportedly wore Palestine flags, poppies and portraits of Mr Corbyn on their lapels.
Dame Margaret was triggered for re-selection following a rule change last year by Labour’s National Executive Committee, whereby a sitting Labour MP now needs the support of two-thirds of their constituency’s wards rather than half, in order to remain the candidate. A month ago, Dame Margaret was triggered on a turnout of some ten percent of Labour members in Barking.
Dame Margaret, who is an honorary patron of Campaign Against Antisemitism, would have become the third Jewish woman MP to be hounded out of the Labour Party, after Luciana Berger and Dame Louise Ellman, who both represented constituencies in Liverpool, resigned from the Labour Party over antisemitism. Dame Margaret has famously called Mr Corbyn “an antisemitic racist”.
On 28th May, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
Over 57,000 people have now signed our petition denouncing Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite and declaring him “unfit to hold any public office.”