Margaret Hodge defiant in face of Ukip election threat
15:52 09 July 2014
Labour MP Margaret Hodge has insisted she is not worried about Ukip when it comes to contesting her seat at next year’s election.
It was a result that had Tories gulping when the Eurosceptic party made gains in council polls across England.
But Mrs Hodge told the Post they won’t be a threat to her.
Barking and Dagenham’s Ukip leader Dee Hunt was just 13 votes shy of gaining the party’s only council seat and insisted at the time her party would play a part in the borough’s future.
In an interview to mark her 20th year in Barking and Dagenham politics, Mrs Hodge said she was not worried about the party.
“I honestly think they’ve peaked. They did do well but I think they’ve peaked,” she said. “I think there are a lot of people who feel angry at the way the borough has changed and Ukip gives a simple message – which is a lie – but it’s simple and resonates with their anger.
“I think what we’ve got to try and do is listen to people. That’s one reason they’re cross but there’s lots of other reasons.
“We must listen and respond to what we can, put right what we can and talk about the changes in the borough and how we can make it work for the better.”
Her comments came after Ukip generated the second largest number of votes in Barking and Dagenham in May’s local elections, beating both coalition parties along the way.
But an undeterred Mrs Hodge said: “There is no way that Ukip would ever deliver on anything. They are a vehicle for a protest vote when mainstream parties fail.”
Speaking about the party’s leader, Nigel Farage, she added: “More is being exposed about some of the outrageous views of Ukip’s lead members.”
Farage said his party would be “serious players” at the 2015 general election after it made the second-biggest gains of any party throughout the UK earlier this year, with a positive swing of 161 council seats.