Following the Notice of Investigation, Margaret Hodge has continued making all her correspondence public. She tweeted this on Friday, August 3rd:
I won't embed all 15 tweets but if you click on this one you can read this letter from Labour plus the reply from Hodge's Silver Circle law firm.
On Monday 6th August, the complaint against Hodge was dropped. It appeared that an apology had been proffered to the Chief Whip of the Labour Party, accepted and that was enough to end the matter.
What a kick in the teeth for those denied a vote in the 2016 leadership contest for much less. Think back to those suspended for retweeting the Green Party or to Catherine Starr, denied a vote because of a Facebook post that said, "I fucking love the Foo Fighters". It stinks of double standards and hypocrisy and Labour members are justifiably angry.
It could be argued however, that, tactically, this has been the right thing to do. Labour have been under the media spotlight for weeks now over antisemitism, overshadowing Tory Islamophobia and the chaos that is Brexit. That Hodge herself is keen to keep it in the limelight points to the fact that she is not actually happy with the complaint being dropped. Perhaps the plan was to run with the story throughout recess so that Labour, with 12 MPs ready to resign the whip if the action continued, was in tatters by conference season. She has vociferously denied apologising for example.
The Skwawkbox have the following correspondence that refutes this claim:
It seems clear then, that Hodge wants to be kept in the limelight. In which case, it is fair to shine the spotlight on her in the hope that it becomes uncomfortably bright and hot.
Hodge's "defeat" of the BNP in Barking is covered here as is her tax hypocrisy. That she is an anti-racism expert / campaigner doesn't hold up to the facts and she has a nerve to accuse Corbyn of being a racist in light of her history. Added to her assimilation of the BNP's rhetoric for example, there is this about her hounding of the traveller community while she was Islington Council Leader:
While we have established therefore, her lack of credentials for calling out racism and tax avoidance, we haven't looked at the matter of the appalling child abuse scandal that went on while Hodge was in charge of Islington Council:
A noteable quote from this article summarises it well:
A local politician who had heard the gravest imaginable allegations about the maltreatment of children, refused to examine them on budgetary grounds, smeared a victim, attacked the newspaper that did its duty by investigating, and finally – after years of running for cover – offered the dismal excuse that people knew less about child abuse back then, became the national politician with responsibility for children."
People on Twitter have been digging a bit deeper though and here it starts to get even more murky. Let's turn up the spotlight.
NCCL stands for National Council for Civil Liberties, now known as Liberty. PIE stands for Paedophile Information Exchange. Yes, it really does and yes it really was affiliated with NCCL.
Whilst PIE was affiliated with it, the National Council for Civil Liberties (now Liberty) argued that photographs of undressed children should not be considered "indecent" - and therefore illegal - unless it could be proven that the subject had suffered harm or that an inference to that effect or to the effect that harm might have been caused could reasonably be drawn from the images themselves, with Harriet Harman (later deputy leader of the Labour Party) arguing that it would “increase censorship”
Flesh crawling yet? There's more.
There may be those who will argue, what does this have to do with the case that has just been dropped? Directly, nothing. However, Hodge is being held up to the public as a paragon of virtue. A dame no less, an unimpeachable senior Labour figure who must be listened to when she throws around accusations of racism with impunity. She won't let the current matter drop. She is making it as public and long lasting as possible for nefarious reasons, the least of which seem to be antisemitism and racism. It is justifiable therefore, to shine a spotlight on her to ascertain if the public can trust a person of her character as defined by her past (and present) actions. So far, the answer appears to be no.