Margaret Hodge faces a reselection contest. Blairites defend her ‘anti-racist’ record, when her anti-immigrant housing policies were supported by the BNP. Her rhetoric against anti-semitism has been weaponised against Corbyn. Deselect now!
Dame Margaret Hodge, Labour MP for Barking, has frequently been in the news of late, usually attacking Jeremy Corbyn for supposed antisemitism or other such alleged crimes. She has never hidden her contempt for Corbyn and his leadership, and has rushed to the media at every opportunity.
It was no surprise to members to find out that Hodge was instrumental in launching the vote of confidence in Corbyn a few years ago.
She has even accused Corbyn to his face of being “a f*****g antisemite and a racist”.
When facing disciplinary action for this, she compared her treatment to the persecution faced by her father at the hands of the Nazis! She went on to claim that the Labour Party was institutionally antisemitic.
All these antics were designed to deliberately undermine the Labour Party.
Now Dame Margaret is once again in the news. This time because local Labour Party members have voted to undertake an open selection process, after a successful trigger ballot.
Hodge will be the second Labour MP to face a reselection battle. Others are set to follow, with the recent news that Ealing Southall MP Virendra Sharma has also been ‘triggered’, and plenty more Blairite saboteurs in the firing line.
“I am obviously disappointed,” the Barking MP stated. Of course she was disappointed. After all, she was in a safe Labour seat, which she regarded as a job for life. It is no wonder that her staff were busy ringing around members urging them to back her.
In the end, however, 5 out of 11 local branches voted to support an open selection process, instead of rubber-stamping her candidature. In Longbridge ward there were 30 votes to 7 in favour of open selection. In one ward meeting – Parsloes – Hodge only won by 3 votes to 2, a margin of just one.
Discontent with Margaret Hodge has been growing within the local party for years. Hodge’s consistent deep hostility to Corbyn has proved too much for grassroots members to tolerate.
Hodge, who became Barking’s MP in 1994, is a millionaire. She doesn’t live in Barking, but in the rich part of leafy Islington. She lives in a different world, completely detached from the problems of local people in Barking, one of the poorest and most deprived boroughs of London.
She is credited for seeing off the British National Party (BNP) in 2010. In reality, it was the activists on the ground that drove out the BNP.
It was Hodge and her Blairite policies – in Westminster and locally – that fuelled the rise of the far right in the first place.
For instance, while a minister, she advocated that British-born families should take priority over immigrants in the queue for council housing. She insinuated that the housing shortage was due to immigrants, rather than a failure to build more houses. Her comments were publicly welcomed by the BNP!
Scourge of tax avoiders?
Avoided tax on shares worth over £1.5m via Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility.
Scourge of racists?
Praised by BNP for her anti-immigrant housing policy.
Scourge of antisemites?
Barely mentioned the word before Jeremy Corbyn became leader.
— Chuka Umunna’s Flip Flops (@WarmongerHodges) September 29, 2019
Labour right-wingers like Tom Watson have rushed to the Dame’s defence. The deputy leader blamed the actions of a “hard left faction”. Stephen Doughty called her a “brilliant constituency MP” – as if he would know better than local members. Tulip Siddiq said Hodge was an “amazing feminist”, much to the puzzlement of Barking’s residents. Harriet Harman also chimed in.
The reality is that Hodge and the rest of the Blairites are very much out of step from the Corbyn-led Labour Party.
This open selection process will finally provide us with the opportunity to choose a candidate more reflective of the Corbyn-supporting membership.
It is about time that we, as local party members, be allowed to choose democratically who should represent us, instead of having representatives foisted upon us. It is time that Hodge and her right-wing, careerist friends were shown the door.