British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has come under pressure to help drop a disciplinary action against Margaret Hodge, a pro-Israeli lawmaker who has called him an “antisemitic racist.”
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Monday that the investigation surrounding Hodge’s remarks about Corbyn should either be dropped or settled quickly.
“Someone has made a complaint so that’s being investigated. My view is let’s resolve this very, very quickly, almost drop the complaint, and let’s move on. Or if someone wants their complaint investigated, let’s get that done quickly,” said McDonnell in an interview to the Sky.
McDonnell described Hodge, a lawmaker known for her fierce defense of the Israeli crimes against the Palestinians, as someone who has “got a good heart”, adding that Hodge’s description of Corbyn as a racist only came out of a “heated” expression.
The Labour leader has come under pressure for pushing for a clearer interpretation of antisemitism.
McDonnell’s supportive comments for Hodge come amid a row within the Labour about the party’s code of conduct on antisemitism. Pro-Israeli and semitist Labour members have been angered that the code does not present a full definition of antisemitism and misses some items from a multi-national pact that opposes any harsh treatment of the Zionist regime of Israel.
Corbyn has defended both the code and the disciplinary inquiry into Hodge’s remarks.
“I felt not pleased about it ... I felt upset about it ... I don’t shout at people, I just listen to what they have to say,” said Corbyn about Hodge’s designation of him as a racist.
The Labour chief said he had no role in the disciplinary action against Hodge.
“A complaint has been registered and that will have to be dealt with by the party, but that is independent of me,” said Corbyn.
He also reiterated his call for the postponement of a parliamentary debate on the Labour code until the autumn so that more MPs could attend the discussion after the summer recess. Pro-Israeli lobbies have been pushing an emergency motion for the debate.