Hodge talks after victory on plans for Barking and Tory candidate ‘breaking the rules’
- Credit: Archant
Margaret Hodge has once again swept to victory in Barking securing a generous slice of the vote share in the general election last night.
The former chair of the Public Accounts Committee will continue her reign over the borough after it was announced she will hold on to the constituency she’s represented since 1994.
Speaking to the Post at the count at Becontree Heath Leisure Centre, she said: “I feel stunningly wonderful, very humble and very privileged.
“This is the sixth time I’ve been elected locally. I think we’ve done well.”
In a nod to her win against the British National Party in 2010 she added: “Last time we were fighting fascism, this time around it’s a different battle with UKIP.”
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Earlier in the day, however, Mrs Hodge confronted her Conservative rival Mina Rahman, believing the Tory candidate was acting against the electoral commissioner’s rules.
She said: “Mina behaved very naughtily today. The electoral commission has been clear you don’t influence voters as they come in, the electoral commission set these rules and Mina was breaking them and I got a bit cross.
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“She has been wearing her rosette all day and there was more than one person giving out leaflets through out the day.”
Mrs Hodge warned of the importance of acting fairly and accurately in the wake of Tower Hamlets – where the former Mayor, Lutfur Rahman, was found guilty of corrupt malpractice at the polls.
“Mina was breaking the rules,” she added. “It was silly behaviour from her and I don’t want that Tower Hamlets behaviour here.”
Rebutting the claim, Mrs Rahman complained about Mrs Hodge, saying she snatched a leaflet from a voter and told her to stop canvassing.
“The behaviour of Margaret Hodge today was totally unacceptable and I had to make a formal complaint to the electoral commissioner,” she told the Post.
“I wasn’t breaking any rules because the rules are that you can canvas as long as it’s over 100 meters away – and we were.
“She told me to stop talking in Bengali and then said ‘We don’t want Barking to be another Tower Hamlets’ but I was talking to my nephew about lunch.
“She was very aggressive and actually grabbed a leaflet out of a voter’s hand and said we weren’t allowed to campaign near to the polling station, which we weren’t.”
The long-standing Labour MP said health being free at the point of access, decent housing for all and a better start in life for kids will be at the top of her agenda.
But she dismissed a comment from the Post about whether she would continue in her role as chair of the Public Accounts Committee, saying: “We’ll talk about that another time.”