Dame Margaret Hodge vows to stay with Labour and ‘fight for the values’ of her party
PUBLISHED: 11:44 18 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:52 18 February 2019
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Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge has vowed to stay with Labour and ‘fight for the values, principles and soul of the party’ following the resignation of seven of her colleagues.
Dame Margaret took to Twitter to release a statement this morning after Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey left the party to create a new Independent Group.
All seven have been some of the loudest critics of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, his stance on Brexit and his handling of allegations of antisemitism.
Dame Margaret, a secular Jew with relatives who died in Auschwitz concentration camp, faced disciplinary proceedings for calling Mr Corbyn an ‘antisemite and a racist’ last year.
This was later dropped by the party.
Dame Margaret tweeted: “Sad that a good group of colleagues feel pushed out of PLP by abject failure of leadership on Brexit, antisemitism and other issues.
“The intolerant culture promoted by the leadership makes it difficult for them. A dreadful, dark and divisive day for Labour.
“Luciana has faced outrageous abuse, threats and hatred from her local party as well as nationally. With no support from the leadership I understand why enough is indeed enough for her. She has been a strong, determined and brave fighter in our campaign against antisemitism.
“For far too long many of us have put up with intolerable and unprecedented antisemitic abuse from the hard left.
“But with my Jewish colleagues I want to stay and fight for the values, principles and soul of the party that was the natural home for Jews when I joined 57 years ago.”
Mr Corbyn said he was “disappointed” at the decision of the seven MPs.
He said in a statement: “I am disappointed that these MPs have felt unable to continue to work together for the Labour policies that inspired millions at the last election and saw us increase our vote by the largest share since 1945.
“Labour won people over on a programme for the many not the few - redistributing wealth and power, taking vital resources into public ownership, investing in every region and nation, and tackling climate change.
“The Conservative government is bungling Brexit, while Labour has set out a unifying and credible alternative plan. When millions are facing the misery of Universal Credit, rising crime, homelessness and poverty, now more than ever is the time to bring people together to build a better future for us all.”