Following her outburst last week, reportedly saying to Jeremy Corbyn:
You're a fucking anti-Semite and a racist. You don't want people like me in the party."
(more about which you can read in my previous post) Margaret Hodge has defended her accusation, although denies the swearing and repeated it in the media since, obviously without the swearing. On the 18th July she was sent a Notice of Investigation from Jennie Formby, General Secretary of Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC). Luckily for us Hodge has tweeted it:
She has also tweeted the reply sent by her lawyers:
I'm not going to dissect the solicitor's letter here. I'm sure you can draw your own conclusions from reading it. It seems a pretty lengthy reply to what is just a notice of investigation. Note on tweet 5/7 how attention is drawn to abuse Hodge has received. Abuse obviously shouldn't be tolerated in any political party. However, it's ironic that abuse is raised in a case where Hodge has been abusive herself. It shows the double standards that some Labour MPs seem to hold about their standard of behaviour and that of supposed (but not proven) Corbyn / Labour supporters. Battle lines have most definitely been drawn and the tone has been set.
You would expect consternation about the notice of investigation from many Labour MPs but I wasn't expecting to hear that John McDonnell thought it should be dropped. The headline in the Guardian was:
Labour should drop action against Margaret Hodge, McDonnell says
What he actually said was:
Someone has made a complaint so that’s being investigated. My view is let’s resolve this very, very quickly, almost drop the complaint, and let’s move on. Or if someone wants their complaint investigated, let’s get that done quickly.”
While there is much to be said for dealing with the complaint quickly, presumably with the aim of healing yet another rift before too much damage is done, the complaint should continue. The headline must have been something of a kick in the teeth for the 3,017 people purged from voting in the Labour leadership election of 2016 either by suspension, expulsion or having membership denied for far less reason than the cause of the investigation against Hodge.
It is doubtful that many (if any) of those 3,107 would have had the means to so challenge the decisions, often arbitrarily made against them, let alone access to a Silver Circle law firm that:
Grace Blakeley also raises a good point:
In a party that designates itself as "the party of equality", the complaint should be fully investigated to show that there is not one rule for members of the Parliamentary Labour Party and another for Labour Party members in general.