Labour offers to drop action against Barking MP Margaret Hodge if she gives an “appropriate apology”
PUBLISHED: 18:17 03 August 2018 | UPDATED: 18:17 03 August 2018
The Labour Party offered to drop disciplinary action against Dame Margaret Hodge is she issued an “appropriate apology” for calling Jeremy Corbyn a ‘racist and antisemite’.
The Labour MP for Barking has published a three-page letter dated July 25 from the party’s general secretary, Jennie Formby, on her Facebook page.
Ms Hodge said: “This is the continuing correspondence with the Labour Party.
“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?”
Dame Margaret labelled the Labour leader an antisemitic 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.
Dame Margaret, a secular Jew with relatives who died in Auschwitz concentration camp, called for disciplinary investigations against her and colleague Ian Austin to be ended.
She also demanded Mr Corbyn sign up to the code in full, and reports suggest the Labour leader could be gearing up for a climbdown speech on the issue at the Jewish Museum next week.
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.
“If the present investigation continues to the interview stage, at that point the substance of the information obtained will be put to your client and she will have a full opportunity to respond.
“We are currently at the very beginning of the process. Nobody has prejudged the outcome, nor is there any improper motive for the investigation.
“The suggestions in your letter to the contrary are entirely unsubstantiated and it is unacceptable for you to cast doubt on the integrity of Party’s staff or processes by making them.”
The letter adds: “To be clear, the current investigation is not directed to your client raising concerns about antisemitism.
“As the chief whip’s letter points out, Labour Party members have a right to raise concerns about antisemitism. 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.