Vocal Corbyn critic Margaret Hodge faces Labour re-selection battle

28 September 2019, 18:28

Dame Margaret Hodge MP
Dame Margaret Hodge MP. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The Barking and Dagenham MP Dame Margaret Hodge faces reselection after local Labour Party vote.

It comes after enough Labour branches in the area voted in a trigger ballot that Dame Margaret - who has held the seat since 1994 - should face a challenge.

In a statement, Dame Margaret said: "I am obviously disappointed. My priority remains serving the people of Barking as I have done for the last 25 years.

"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.

"I will work to secure the full backing of Barking Labour Party, so I can continue to play my part as their MP in doing that."

Former Labour activist Ayesha Hazarika said on Twitter that Margaret Hodge famously beat the British National Party "bully boys" and "it’s Labour Party members who come to finish her off."

She said: "If coming after a well respected, older Jewish lady for calling out anti-semitism won’t win over the public, I REALLY don’t know what will."

Labour’s trigger ballot system was changed recently. Meaning the threshold for triggering a full selection, which has been lowered, used to be more than 50% of branches.

The rule is: “If either one third or more of party branches, or one third or more of affiliated branches, indicate that they wish a selection to take place, a selection shall proceed.”

With talk of a general election on the horizon, Dame Margaret is the second Labour MP to be triggered, Hull MP Diana Johnson has also been told she will have to fight to keep her seat.

The former minister has been a vocal critic of Jeremy Corbyn and the party’s anti-Semitism controversy, accusing him of failing to grip the issue.

On one occasion she told Mr Corbyn to his face that he is an "anti-Semite and racist".