Labour offer to drop disciplinary action against Margaret Hodge amid anti-Semitism row

Labour offer to drop disciplinary action against Margaret Hodge amid anti-semitism row

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Labour party have offered to drop disciplinary action against Dame Margaret Hodge on the condition that she issue an “appropriate apology”.

Labour MP for Barking Hodge has published a three-page letter dated July 25 sent from the party’s General Secretary Jennie Formby, on her Facebook page.

"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 labelled Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn "anti-Semitic and racist" in a heated exchange after the party leadership refused to sign up to the internationally recognised International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) code of conduct in full.

The Labour MP, a secular Jew with relatives who died in Auschwitz concentration camp, called for disciplinary investigations against her and colleague Ian Austin to be ended.

Hodge has served as the Labour MP for Barking since 1994. 


‘An appropriate apology for her conduct’

The letter sent last month to Dame Margaret's lawyer says a "warning and reprimand" from the chief whip would enable the investigation "to be brought to an end, on condition your client gives in short order an appropriate apology for her conduct".

The letter continues that, should the investigation continue, "your client will be provided with further information at the appropriate stage".

The investigation is expected to continue as Dame Margaret has not offered any apology to date, instead criticising the party for failing to outline the accusations against her and continuing to draw attention to alleged anti-Semitic behaviour.

The letter 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.”

"To be clear, the current investigation is not directed to your client raising concerns about anti-Semitism," the letter added. 

"As the chief whip's letter points out, Labour Party members have a right to raise concerns about anti-Semitism. The party is making considerable efforts to address that issue.

"Rather the investigation is concerned with the alleged abusive manner in which your client behaved."

The letter says there is "no threat" against Dame Margaret but does reference the possibility of suspension.