Labour have said they will take action against Margaret Hodge after she called Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn “an anti-Semitic racist”.
Dame Margaret Hodge, the former chair of the public accounts committee, approached Corbyn behind the Speaker’s chair as MPs took part in a series of votes on Brexit on Tuesday.
Friends of Hodge denied reports she swore at the Labour leader, but acknowledged she had called him “an anti-Semitic racist”.
They added that when Corbyn protested, she replied: “It is not what you say but what you do, and by your actions you have shown you are an anti-Semitic racist.” Hodge also said it was actions like this that made people like her not welcome in the party.
One Labour MP said: “She went to him and he just stood there and took it. She was furious.”
A spokesman for the Labour leader said Hodge’s comments were “clearly unacceptable” and that disciplinary action would be taken against the MP. He declined to reveal the precise nature of the action being brought against the Barking MP, who is herself Jewish. But he said that it would be taken under parliamentary Labour party procedures requiring MPs to behave in a “respectful” way towards colleagues and not to “bring the party into disrepute”.
In response, the Labour MP Wes Streeting accused the party of “hypocrisy”, arguing that it was penalising Hodge while not doing enough about allegations of antisemitism.
Streeting also took a swipe at labour, tweeting, “I’m assuming by ‘action’ our ‘senior Labour source’ means a fulsome apology to Margaret and the Jewish community for the flagrant disregard shown for their conerns…”
Hodge was reacting to the Labour National Executive Committee’s decision to adopt a new definition of anti-Semitism. However, they rejected four points of the IHRA definition, which has been adopted by 31 countries and is widely accepted by the Jewish community, and removed all anti-Semitic attitudes around Israel. Labour’s actions have been roundly critised by all major Jewish organisations in the UK.
If only ‘senior Labour sources’ could respond so swiftly to complaints about antisemitism within our ranks. The stench of hypocrisy is overwhelming.
— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) July 18, 2018