Corbyn ally uses history tour to launch bitter attack on Labour MP Margaret Hodge

She calls Jewish Socialist Group spokesperson's comments about her a 'complete travesty of the truth'


LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 02: Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge speaks during the 'Jewish Labour Movement Conference' on September 2, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A close ally of Jeremy Corbyn has used a history tour he organises to launch a bitter attack on Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge.

David Rosenberg, spokesperson for the Jewish Socialist Group, was recorded during his tour alleging that Dame Margaret had proposed “a very racist housing policy” in an attempt to defeat the far-right British National Party in her Barking constituency back in 2007.

Referring to Dame Margaret’s recent comments in which she labelled the Labour leader a “racist and an antisemite”, Mr Rosenberg can be heard saying: “She should be a bit more careful the way she throws around terms like ‘racist’ and ‘antisemite’, looking at her own record.”

But, speaking to the JC on Wednesday, Dame Margaret, who is Jewish and lost family members in the Holocaust, accused Mr Corbyn’s close friend of a “bigoted, biased and I think libellous” attack on her political career.

The JC has learned that Mr Rosenberg, who accompanied Mr Corbyn to the Passover Seder organised by the anti-Zionist Jewdas group earlier this year, made his remarks as he took a group of leading Labour left-wingers on his “radical East End tour” on October 7.

Among those in the group was Thomas Gardiner, an adviser to Labour chair Ian Lavery and the current head of the Party’s Compliance Unit which oversees complaints against members.

Referring to an earlier article he had written for the Morning Star newspaper “about Hodge being very rude” to the Labour leader, Mr Rosenberg cited the Labour MP’s infamous struggle against the rise of the BNP locally.

He told the group of Labour activists that Dame Margaret played a “big part” in the rise of the BNP in Barking over a decade ago.

Mr Rosenberg added: “And then once the BNP got in, her way of trying to get votes from those people was to propose a very racist housing policy.

“It was indigenous people first as she put it, migrants second, despite needs”.

But speaking to the JC, Dame Margaret said Mr Rosenberg’s attack on her was a “complete travesty of the truth”.

She added: “It was a grassroots campaign to bring back disaffected voters to Labour and we smashed the BNP."

She insisted that she had deliberately listened the concerns of her constituents in Barking over concerns that they were being “treated unfairly by people who had arrived more recently”.

Mr Rosenberg has mocked the Labour MPs Ruth Smeeth and Luciana Berger about the antisemitic abuse they have received from within the party.

Dame Margaret has also questioned the actions of those Jewish communal leaders who have suggested there is an obligation to work with Mr Corbyn.

“He is the leader of the leader of the Labour Party. The onus is on him to… try to rebuild the relationship,” she said. 

When contacted by the JC, Mr Rosenberg said: “I did a 2.5 hour walk for young Labour members focusing mainly on the fight against fascism in East London in the 1930s but also looking at more recent fascist activity, especially the massive BNP gains in Barking in 2006 which was challenged effectively by local Labour activists, trade unionists and anti-fascist organisations in 2010.

“In that context I made reference to Margaret Hodge’s widely condemned response to the BNP, which proposed a local housing policy focussed on ‘indigenous’ ‘British born’ families over the needs of migrants.

"Her policy was condemned by other Labour MPs as ‘using the language of the BNP’. The BNP tried to deliver flowers to her to say thanks.”

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