POLITICS
06/08/2018 19:04 BST | Updated 07/08/2018 09:23 BST

Margaret Hodge Refuses To Apologise To Jeremy Corbyn After Inquiry Dropped

Jewish MP confronted Labour leader over anti-Semitism.

Andrew Winning / Reuters
Margaret Hodge says she has not apologised.

A veteran Jewish MP has refused to apologise for accusing Jeremy Corbyn of being a racist and an anti-Semite after the Labour Party dropped the disciplinary action against her.

Party sources said that the General Secretary, Jennie Formby, had written to Dame Margaret Hodge to end the investigation into alleged abusive behaviour and inform her that no further action will be taken.

The letter followed Dame Margaret expressing “regret” to the party’s Chief Whip for the manner in which she raised her views, they said.

But in a tweet, the MP for Barking took issue with the portrayal and made clear she had not apologised.

She said before that: “I’m pleased that the Labour Party has finally dropped their ‘action’ against me. After 55 years of LP membership going after me instead of addressing the issue was wrong.

“In 2018 anti-Semitism that has again reared its ugly head and the campaign against it goes on.

“The Labour Party must adopt the IHRA definition in full to start to rebuild trust. Thanks to everyone for kind messages of support which have kept me going.”

Damer Margaret later published a letter to the Labour Party, sent by her lawyers, Mishcon de Reya, which said the party was “making the rules up as you went” and that “even in defeat you have sought to spin your final decision in a disingenuous and false manner”.

It said: “As you are aware, our client will not apologise for her conduct or words, as she did nothing wrong.

“You have entirely misrepresented our client’s discussions with the Opposition Chief Whip in a cynical attempt to save face in your necessary climb-down.

“We also note that media reports have suggested that our client has sent the Chief Whip a letter confirming her expression of regret. This is false, and raises yet further concerns that you continue to brief the media in different (and false) terms to those set out in correspondence to our client.

“Our client is pleased the investigation is now over, and welcomes your apology for the distress she has suffered in the weeks since 18 July.”

Hodge clashed with Corbyn last month in parliament after the party leadership refused to sign up to the internationally recognised International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) code of conduct in full.

HuffPost UK revealed how Hodge confronted Corbyn behind the Speaker’s chair in the House of Commons.

Hodge, whose family members perished in the Holocaust, told Corbyn to his face that he was an “anti-Semite and a racist”, according to several sources.

The Labour leader responded: “I’m sorry you feel like that.”

Gideon Falter, of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, said the decision to drop the inquiry against her was a “humiliating capitulation” by the party.

“The entire Jewish community was disgusted by the way that Dame Margaret was victimised simply for confronting anti-Semitism in the Labour Party,” he said.

“We applaud her for standing up against anti-Semitism in the party and for refusing to bow to the considerable pressure put on her to apologise.”

The decision to drop the inquiry comes after deputy leader Tom Watson called for the investigations into Dame Margaret and a second Labour MP Ian Austin – who clashed with party chairman Ian Lavery over the issue – to be abandoned.