A veteran Jewish lawmaker in the British Labour Party who last year called leader Jeremy Corbyn an anti-Semite on Monday won a reselection vote to remain as the local party candidate.
Dame Margaret Hodge, who has served as MP for Barking in London since 1994, faced a reselection vote, her local constituency party decided, which allows parties to replace MPs by opening the door for other party members to run for the seat in a primary election.
Hodge announced her win in a tweet with a photo of herself and activists, with the word, “Victory!”
The Board of Deputies of British Jews congratulated Hodge on her “emphatic reselection,” The Guardian reported, adding: “Trolls who opposed her reckoned without Margaret’s strength and popularity. Not lost on anyone that Labour’s so-called ‘anti-racist’ leader missing in action as his drones tried to force out another Jewish MP.”
— Margaret Hodge (@margarethodge) October 28, 2019
According to The Guardian, new rules in the Labour party mean a reselection contest can be triggered if a third of local party members vote in favor.
Labour has been accused of using the procedure to purge anti-Corbyn elements from within its ranks.
“I am obviously disappointed. My priority remains serving the people of Barking as I have done for the last 25 years,” Hodge told the Huffington Post at the time the vote was announced. “At a vital time for the country, with a general election looming, we should be focusing our efforts on holding Boris Johnson and the Tories to account.”
Reselection allows parties to replace MPs by opening the door for other party members to run for the seat in a primary election. Labour has been accused of using the procedure to purge anti-Corbyn elements from within its ranks.
Last year Hodge confronted Corbyn in parliament after the party adopted new guidelines on anti-Semitism which have been criticized as too weak and falling short of a widely accepted formulation. Speaking inside the parliament chamber, but out of range of media, Hodge told Corbyn he was an “anti-Semite and a racist.”
The Labour Party later said it decided to take no action against Hodge, who said the leadership’s response to Jewish concerns over anti-Semitism in the party had been dismissive and arrogant, and its decision to soften the internationally accepted definition of the term was infuriating.
Hodge tweeted at the time that she was pleased no disciplinary action would be taken against her, but insisted the party was wrong for attacking her, rather than addressing the issue of anti-Semitism.
Hodge is Jewish and lost family members in the Holocaust. She has spoken in parliament about suffering from anti-Semitic attacks on social media and elsewhere.
Earlier this month, Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman, 73, quit the Labour party and later said she had been sidelined by new far-left party activists who refused to use her name in publications and accused her of dual loyalty to Israel.
Ellman who left the party she had been a member of for 55 years, said in an interview with The Telegraph website that since she became an MP in 1997, many new party members have joined who “endorsed anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and came from revolutionary Communist groups.” Ellman also said many in the party had an “‘obsession’ with Israel at the expense of any other domestic or foreign issue.”
Corbyn has come under prolonged attack — including from within Labour — for allegedly allowing anti-Semitism to spread in the party and for initially refusing to adopt fully the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism in its code of conduct.
Labour has grappled with anti-Semitism accusations since its far-left leader Corbyn was elected party chief in 2015. Fresh scrutiny arose this year after a BBC program in which a number of former party officials accused him and his allies of interfering in efforts to address the issue.