Jeremy Corbyn told by veteran Jewish MP ‘You’re a fucking antisemite and a racist’
Jeremy Corbyn has been told he’s “a fucking antisemite” by a veteran Jewish MP after the party upheld controversial new guidelines on tackling antisemitism, HuffPost UK has been told.
Furious former minister Margaret Hodge confronted the Labour leader after the crunch Commons votes on Brexit, telling him he didn’t want people like her in the party any more.
Tempers flared behind the Speaker’s chair, out of the range of TV cameras, as Hodge expressed her anger at the ruling National Executive Committee’s (NEC) decision to endorse new rules on Jew-hatred and abuse.
After a heated three-hour debate, the NEC tried to take the sting out of the row by launching a new consultation on its plans.
But a raft of Jewish groups lined up to condemn the party as it refused to ditch a previous decision to amend an International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.
The new guidelines have been heavily criticised by the Chief Rabbi for appearing to allow the party to fudge certain forms of abuse, amid claims by Corbyn supporters that they don’t want to stifle debate about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
And Hodge decided to take the matter directly to Corbyn, remonstrating with him in the Commons once the key Brexit votes were over.
“You’re a fucking antisemite and a racist,” Hodge told him, according to a fellow MP. “You have proved you don’t want people like me in the party”.
Several witnesses in different parties witnessed the attack. One said that Corbyn replied: “I’m sorry you feel like that.”
A party source confirmed to HuffPost that the account of the exchange was accurate.
“She was aggressive, Jeremy was calm. Other MPs who were there were upset by it,” the source said.
A friend of Hodge later denied that she had sworn at Corbyn. “She said ‘you are an antisemitic racist’.” When he protested, she said: ‘It is not what you say but what you do and by your actions you have shown you are an antisemitic racist’.”
It is possible that Hodge will nevertheless be referred to the party whips for possible misconduct.
Corbyn is expected to want to invite Hodge to discuss the issue more calmly in a meeting, where he will explain the latest move to consult the Jewish community.
Hodge, a former chair of the Public Accounts Committee, has long criticised Corbyn’s leadership and was among the two senior MPs who triggered a vote of no confidence in him in 2016.
She let rip on Tuesday evening after the NEC refused to allow a vote on its antisemitism plans.