Veteran Labour MP and Corbyn critic Margaret Hodge to stand down

Margaret Hodge, the veteran Labour MP and former chair of the public accounts committee, has announced she will not stand again for parliament at the next election.

Following a career in the Commons that spanned 27 years, Hodge told local party members in her east London seat of Barking she had made the “tough decision” not to contest the constituency again.

A Jewish MP who was a fierce critic of Jeremy Corbyn during the former Labour leader’s tenure, Hodge has not held a frontbench post since 2010, choosing instead to focus on work as a backbencher.

Hodge said she loved having served as an MP, and thanked her local party for “the warmth, the friendship, the support and the love that you’ve shown me down the years”.

In a video message released on Thursday night, the 77-year-old-added: “We’ve done fantastic things together.”

Hodge, who was made a dame in 2015 for her political and public service, said her proudest moment was beating Nick Griffin, the then-British National party leader, when he contested the Barking seat in 2010.

She said: “The biggest, biggest success and the biggest moment in my life was really our campaign to get rid of the BNP and see them off.”

Recalling a speech from the time, Hodge said she would always remember having “told them to pack their bags and go”, adding: “That is still absolutely stamped on my heart as a massive moment.”

She also said Labour was a very different party now from the one she remembered when she became an MP in a byelection in 1994.

Hodge was well known for her chairing of the public accounts select committee, and went on to write a book, Called to Account, about how corporate “bad behaviour and government waste” had cost taxpayers millions of pounds.

She was also an outspoken critic of Corbyn over anti-Jewish sentiment within the Labour party, and called him a “racist and antisemite”. At the time, a spokesman for Corbyn said Hodge’s accusation was unacceptable.

Hodge was a high-profile critic of government waste as chair of the public accounts select committee.© Photograph: Getty Images Hodge was a high-profile critic of government waste as chair of the public accounts select committee.

Source: Theguardian.com

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