Dame Margaret Hodge: “Trust between Jeremy Corbyn, his staff, Labour HQ and backbenchers has broken down completely”
PUBLISHED: 18:43 20 February 2019 | UPDATED: 18:43 20 February 2019
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Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge has insisted she “does not yet want to give up the fight” for the heart and soul of the party after warning of a “surge” of antisemitism.
The former minister warned leader Jeremy Corbyn will be “culpable for sabotaging” the party’s founding values if he fails to listen, understand and change.
She also said she felt “anger” at the “abject failure of the Labour leadership to root out the cancer of antisemitism” within the party and claimed that trust between Mr Corbyn, his staff, Labour HQ and backbenchers has “broken down completely”.
Speaking in the Commons, Dame Margaret told MPs: “Under the leadership of (Mr Corbyn) a platform has also been given for antisemitism that was always present on the hard left fringes but has now moved into the mainstream of my party.
“That’s why we’ve experienced a surge of abuse against us, abuse particularly targeted against female Jewish MPs.”
Dame Margaret said there have been “hundreds and hundreds” of complaints received by the Labour Party but only 12 individuals have been expelled since April, adding she could have identified more in documents handed to LBC.
She said: “This tells me the leader of the Labour Party is not demanding zero tolerance of antisemitism in our ranks.
“Until he does, I and other members of the party will continue to call it out fearlessly, loudly and persistently.
“Trust between the leader, his staff, Labour headquarters and backbench Labour MPs has now broken down completely.
“I have absolutely no confidence in the integrity of the data the party has provided concerning its progress.”
Dame Margaret said she understood and respected the decision of MPs to leave the party, adding: “I joined the Labour Party 56 years ago because it was the natural home of the Jews with its proud tradition of fighting racism and promoting equality and fostering tolerance.
“I don’t yet want to give up the fight for the heart and soul of the party I’ve worked for and with throughout my adult life.
“The leader of the Labour Party must really listen, must really understand and must really change.
“If he does not do so then he will be culpable for sabotaging the values that led to the creation of the Labour Party and responsible for the withering away of a once great political force.”