Margaret Hodge: Labour MP to stand down at next general election after 27 years in role

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  • Margaret Hodge
    British politician (born 1944)
Hodge was elected to parliament in 1994, when John Major was prime minister  (PA Archive)
Hodge was elected to parliament in 1994, when John Major was prime minister (PA Archive)

Veteran Labour MP Margaret Hodge has announced she will not stand at the next general election, calling the decision a “tough” one to make.

In a video message, sent to her local Labour Party in Barking, the former cabinet minister said she had “loved the job” but that after 27 years, she will be “standing down from Parliament”.

Giving a nod to her colleagues, she continued: “I wanted to thank you all for the warmth, the friendship, the support and the love you have shown me down the years.

“We have done fantastic things together.”

The 77-year-old was elected as Barking and Dagenham’s MP in 1994, and went on to serve in several ministerial posts. She also enjoyed a stint as chair of the Public Accounts Committee.

Dame Margaret said her proudest moment was beating then-British National Party (BNP) leader Nick Griffin in the 2010 election, describing it as the “biggest, biggest success and the biggest moment in my life”.

She said she would always remember a speech when she “told them to pack their bags and go”, adding it was “still absolutely stamped on my heart as a massive moment”.

The mother-of-four was elected to parliament in a 1994 by-election, when John Major was prime minister, before being appointed as junior minister for disabled people four years later. She was then promoted to be minister for universities in 2001, and subsequently became the first children’s minister in 2003.

From there, she held a series of ministerial positions including her role as minister of state for culture and tourism, which she stayed in from 2007 until Labour left government following the result of the 2010 election.

Dame Margaret, who had been a notable critic of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in recent years, said in her video message that the party was now very different to when she became an MP.

She became embroiled in a public spat with Mr Corbyn in 2018, over allegations and her own experience of antisemitism in the party and Labour’s response to complaints about this.

An investigation was launched, and then dropped, when Dame Margaret – who is herself Jewish and lost family members in the Holocaust – accused Mr Corbyn of being a “racist and an anti-Semite” over his handling of the controversy.

After the probe was abandoned, she said “going after me instead of addressing the issue was wrong”.

Fellow Labour MPs were quick to send their well-wishes to Dame Margaret, after the video message in which she made her departure announcement was shared on social media this evening.

“Courageous, driven, and full of love and laughter – Margaret Hodge is a brilliant friend and it tugs at my heartstrings that she’s standing down,” Peter Kyle, Labour’s shadow Northern Ireland secretary, tweeted.

“But if anyone’s earned a change of pace it’s her!”

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