POLITICS
03/08/2018 15:56 BST

Margaret Hodge Threatens To Take Labour To Court Over Anti-Semitism Row

Party said disciplinary action would be dropped if she apologised.

Ian Gavan via Getty Images

Margaret Hodge has threatened to take legal action against the Labour Party over its decision to take disciplinary action against her after she called Jeremy Corbyn anti-Semitic and racist.

The veteran Labour MP revealed on Friday the party said it would let the matter slide on the condition she issued an “appropriate apology”.

However Hodge’s lawyers have made it clear to party general secretary Jennie Formby that an apology will not be made.

“The truth is that you are making the rules up as you go, in order to punish our client for fair criticism of Mr Corbyn,” the lawyers said in a letter to Formby.

“You must now either proceed with the investigation or bring it to a close. We urge the latter.

“If you choose the former, we will continue to police the fairness of the investigation and our client reserves all of her rights to seek recourse through the courts in this regard.”

In a post on Facebook today, Hodge said: “I’m still no wiser as to what I’m accused of; the nature of complaints received; who the investigating officer is; or what the time-frame for the investigation will be. Is this fair?”

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.

In a letter sent from Formby to Hodge last month, the party general secretary said: “Complaints were received from a number of individuals about your client’s conduct in parliament on 17th July. The party is investigating the circumstances.

“If the present investigation continues to the interview stage, at that point the substance of the information obtained will be put to your client and she will have a full opportunity to respond.

“We are currently at the very beginning of the process. Nobody has prejudged the outcome, nor is there any improper motive for the investigation.

“The suggestions in your letter to the contrary are entirely unsubstantiated and it is unacceptable for you to cast doubt on the integrity of party’s staff or processes by making them.” 

Speaking to the BBC yesterday, Hodge dismissed the suggestion she could quit the party.

“I’ve given my life to the Labour Party,” Hodge added. “I’m going to fight tooth and nail to bring it back to the values that brought me into it some 55 years ago.

“This was the natural home for people who wanted to fight oppression and racism, that’s why I joined it.”

Labour has been tipped into crisis this week following a barrage of allegations of anti-Semitism.

Corbyn himself has apologised for sharing a platform with people who reportedly compared Israel to the Nazis and it was reported on Friday that a speech by Corbyn to the Jewish community in North London had been called off.