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Hard Left Think Anti-Semitism Is Acceptable Face Of Racism: Hodge
28 February 2019, 07:52
Dame Margaret Hodge said the hard-left section of the Labour Party think that anti-Semitism is the acceptable form of racism.
Labour suspended MP Chris Williamson, a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, yesterday after he told a Momentum meeting that the party had been "too apologetic" over anti-Semitism.
But that only came after reports that the Labour leader had personally intervened to ensure the Derby North MP was not suspended over the incident, before eventually bowing to pressure.
Speaking to Nick Ferrari, Dame Margaret said: "Yesterday was a very difficult day. What should have happened is we should have suspended Chris Williamson first thing in the morning for what he'd done.
"This guy has a record. He's done it before. He's apologised before. And then he goes out and repeats the actions."
Referring to Labour's response to the anti-Semitism crisis, Dame Margaret added: "There is some action, but it's not quick enough, it's not firm enough.
"There has always been anti-Semitism present in the hard-left, but it's always been at the fringes of the Labour Party.
"What has happened now is that with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, what has been on the fringes has come into the mainstream.
"Permission has been given for expression of views which are abhorrent, which are anti-Semitism.
"There's this oddity among the hard-left that somehow anti-Semitism is the acceptable face of racism."
Asked if she could follow Luciana Berger and other MPs to the Independent Group, the Barking MP responded: "I've been a member of the Labour Party for years and years and years. I'm not going to be bullied out of the party."