Margaret Hodge

researcher (prosthetics & orthotics)

Dame Margaret Eve Hodge, Lady Hodge, DBE (née Oppenheimer, formerly Watson; born 8 September 1944) is a British politician serving as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Barking since a by-election in 1994. A member of the Labour Party, she previously served as Leader of Islington Borough Council, London from 1982 to 1992. She has held a number of ministerial roles and served as Chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee from 2010 to 2015.

Official parliamentary portrait of Dame Margaret Hodge
Dame Margaret Hodge (2017)

Hodge is the daughter of the co-founder of steel firm Stemcor and remains a major shareholder. She was a councillor on Islington Council from 1973 to 1994, was chair of the Housing Committee, and then Council Leader from 1982 to 1992. Hodge later apologised for failing to ensure that allegations of serious child abuse in council-run homes were sufficiently investigated and for libelling a complainant.

Hodge was appointed Junior Minister for Disabled People in 1998 and promoted to Minister for Universities in 2001, subsequently becoming the first Children's Minister in 2003, joining the Privy Council. In 2005, Hodge became Minister of State for Work. Hodge served as Minister of State for Culture and Tourism from 2007 to 2008 and 2009 until Labour was defeated at the 2010 general election. Remaining a backbencher since then, Hodge has announced that she will not seek re-election to the House of Commons at the next general election.

Quotes edit

2006–2019 edit

  • They can't get a home for their children, they see black and ethnic minority communities moving in and they are angry [...] When I knock on doors I say to people, 'are you tempted to vote BNP?' and many, many, many - eight out of 10 of the white families - say 'yes'. That's something we have never seen before, in all my years. Even when people voted BNP, they used to be ashamed to vote BNP. Now they are not.
  • What has happened in Barking and Dagenham is the most rapid transformation of a community we have ever witnessed.
    Nowhere else has changed so fast. When I arrived in 1994, it was a predominantly white, working class area. Now, go through the middle of Barking and you could be in Camden or Brixton. That is the key thing that has created the environment the BNP has sought to exploit. ["Mrs Hodge claimed the anger is not down to racism"] It is a fear of change. It is gobsmacking change.
  • At this moment of grave danger, we simply cannot allow the party to flounder, become utterly irrelevant to the political debate and disintegrate into a second-rate pressure group. Make no mistake — unless we listen to our voters, our party faces political oblivion.
  • I am a secular, immigrant Jew. I have never been active in the Jewish community; my two marriages were to non-Jews. I have visited Israel a number of times and have been a vocal critic of successive Israeli governments on many counts. But I am a Jew. My grandmother and my uncle were murdered by Hitler and many cousins and other relatives were slaughtered in the gas chambers. Indeed, my grandfather was one of six siblings; we are the only surviving line left and that was because my parents were in Egypt when the war broke out.
    I joined the Labour party to fight racism. In the 1960s the Labour party was the natural home for Jews. To find myself 50 years later, in 2018, confronting antisemitism in my own party is completely and utterly awful.

2020–2022 edit

  • Within the Labour Party, we now have a culture which sadly has become embedded, which was allowed to drift from the fringes of the Labour Party into the heart of the party, which enables people to express anti-Semitism.
    Probably my talking to you this morning will fill my Twitter with abusive tweets which are basically anti-Semitic.
  • The terrible truth is that [Mr Corbyn] constantly makes himself the centre of the argument.
    What we need to root out is anti-Semitism, and for as long as he is one of the individuals who refuses to accept the extent of anti-Semitism in the party, who constantly says that people like me have been politically motivated and are attacking him personally instead of attacking the anti-Semitism that he expressly tolerates, and has allowed to spread right through the party - that's really the problem.

2023–present edit

  • Kishinev. Babi Yar. Munich. The sites of Jewish massacres throughout history. Now there is another place that will for ever be associated with the slaughter of innocent Jews: Kfar Aza.
    Kibbutz Kfar Aza was home to about 800 people and was established in 1951 by Jewish refugees from Morocco and Egypt (where I was born and from which my family escaped in 1949). Like so many kibbutzim, its founders were idealists, living communally on a model with socialist foundations. Its name – literally meaning "Gaza Village" – reflects its location, just over three miles from the city of Gaza.
  • On Saturday, the worst nightmares of the people of Kfar Aza were realised.
    A barrage of rockets sent men, women and children into their safe rooms. Then hundreds of Hamas terrorists breached the security barrier. A group of them, fully armed, went from house to house in Kfar Aza, searching for Jews to slaughter.
    People were burned alive in their homes and cars. Babies and young children were killed and mutilated. Others were dragged into Gaza as hostages.
    These heinous crimes are unspeakable, and yet we must speak them. The world must know what happened to the people of Kfar Aza.
  • [T]wo of my granddaughters are of secondary school age, so they go to a single-sex girls secondary school. And because it's single-sex, there's a very large Muslim population there. The school originally put up some sort of display where they had an Israeli flag and a Palestinian flag. Good stuff. But the Muslim girls tore down the Israeli flag and replaced it with another Palestinian flag. So, only two Palestinian flags.
    The girls came home — they live next door to me — and they said, "We're not going to tell anybody we're Jewish." So then we had a bit of a discussion about that. They went back the next day and the one who is — she's just 12 — some of these Muslim girls came up to her and said: "Are you Jewish?" So she says, "Yes". So they said, "Which side are you on?" Terrible. So she sort of said, "I’m not on either side," and then they started poking her with a Palestinian flag.
  • We as a nation should understand that how we treat those who escape from persecution and genocide is central to our reputation as a country that boasts a humanitarian approach to genocide and the Holocaust.
  • Told by leading Government politicians that they pose an "existential threat" to the West's way of life, that they are part of a "hurricane" of mass migration, that MPs feel "besieged by asylum seekers", and that asylum seekers are "invading" Britain.
    We should reflect on what we say and what we do today before we exercise any moral entitlement to condemn the atrocities of the past.
    The language we use today matters.

See also edit

External links edit

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