POLITICS
18/07/2018 15:07 BST | Updated 18/07/2018 19:21 BST

Jewish Labour MP Margaret Hodge Faces Disciplinary After Calling Jeremy Corbyn An Anti-Semitic Racist

'Action will be taken' against Margaret Hodge, leader's spokesman says.

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Senior Jewish Labour MP Margaret Hodge is to be disciplined by the party for calling Jeremy Corbyn an “anti-semitic racist”.

A Labour spokesman said that “action will be taken” against the former minister after she let rip at her leader in the Commons on Tuesday night.

HuffPost UK revealed how Hodge had confronted Corbyn behind the Speaker’s chair to express her fury at the party’s new attempt to change its code of conduct on anti-semitism.

Hodge, whose family members perished in the Holocaust, told Corbyn to his face that he was “a fucking anti-semite and a racist”, according to several sources.  “You have proved you don’t want people like me in the party,” she added.

The Labour leader responded: “I’m sorry you feel like that.”  His allies said that he reacted calmly but that Hodge was ‘aggressive’.

The MP has denied to colleagues that she swore, but she did not dispute that she told the Corbyn that he was an anti-semite and a racist.

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Jeremy Corbyn

A friend said: “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’.”

Writing in the Guardian on Wednesday, Hodge said she stood by her actions as well as her words.

“I confronted Jeremy Corbyn in Parliament and told him to his face what I and many others are feeling,” the senior parliamentarian said. 

“Under his leadership the Labour Party is perceived by most Jews, thousands of party members and millions of members of the public as an anti-Semitic, and therefore racist, party.

“As our leader, he is now perceived by many as an anti-Semite.”

She added: “I chose to confront Jeremy directly and personally to express my anger and outrage.

“I stand by my action as well as my words.”

But a spokesman for Corbyn announced that action would be taken for what was “clearly unacceptable” conduct by Hodge.

“The behaviour was clearly unacceptable under Labour party rules, which require respect among Parliamentary colleagues and not to bring the party into disrepute,” he said.

It is unclear what sanction will be applied or whether an investigation will be first held into Hodge’s case by the Parliamentary Labour Party and whips.

The range of options could include a formal caution by the whips, or even suspension from the party pending a fuller inquiry.

Supporters of Corbyn point to Hodge’s role in triggering the first vote of no confidence in him in 2016, a move that sparked mass shadow front bench resignations and the failed ‘coup’ against him.

But defenders of the Barking MP, a former minister in the Blair and Brown governments, said that she was right to highlight Corbyn’s personal responsibility for failing to do more to root out anti-semitism.

Labour MP John Mann, who was himself reprimanded by the leadership for his outspoken attack on Ken Livingstone, said that Hodge should be supported.

“She shouldn’t be disciplined, she’s a feisty individual, she’s a great woman,” he told Channel 4 News.

Jewish groups and the Chief Rabbi expressed their anger this week as the ruling National Executive Committee upheld a new code of conduct.

The code is aimed at “contextualising” an international definition of anti-Jewish abuse, amid claims that legitimate criticism of Israel could be stifled.

When asked whether similar “action will be taken” against the four Labour MPs who voted with the government on Brexit, the spokesman said: “We have our procedures for dealing with breaches of the whip. They will be dealt with in the normal way.

“It was made clear we want Labour MPs to vote in a way that is going to help defeat the government on decisions that are damaging to the country.”