Labour MPs’ Damning Responses to Panorama

Is this the moment when Labour MPs finally stand up and do something about it? Or do they just go back to campaigning to make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister anyway?

Labour to “Take Action” Against Jewish MP Who Called Out Jez

Following last night’s Commons bust-up between Margaret Hodge and Jeremy Corbyn, in which she called him “an anti-Semite and a racist” and said “You have proved you don’t want people like me in the party”, Labour have announced they will be taking action… against Hodge. They say her behaviour was “clearly unacceptable”Disciplining a Jewish MP for calling out anti-Semitism… great look.

British Virgin Islands Accuse Hypocritical Hodge of “Colonialism”

Tax hypocrite Margaret Hodge took a kicking from Lorna Smith of British Virgin Islands Finance on the Today programme this morning, who accused the Labour grandee of “colonialism” for attempting to force them to introduce public ownership registers. Hodge’s amendment, backed by Corbyn, is in the Commons today. Well worth a listen to hear Hodge skewered…

As Guido has chronicled, Hodge had a £1.5 million shareholding in 0.01% tax rate-paying Stemcor. 96,000 Stemcor shares awarded to Hodge in 2011 came from the tax haven of Lichtenstein. Now she is attempting to enforce “colonialist” tax avoidance measures on the British Virgin Islands. You don’t get more hypocritical than that…

Hodge Dodges Amazon Boycott

Margaret Hodge is calling for people to join her in boycotting Amazon over their tax arrangements:

“I hope people take a leaf out of my book and stop using Amazon. I don’t use them at all… If we stop using Amazon then they may understand how angry their customers are.”

You can read more about Hodge’s strong and principled views on Amazon in her book Called to Account, for sale on Amazon:

“I don’t use them at all…”

Labour MPs Condemn McDonnell’s Grenfell Remarks

Shadow housing minister John Healey and veteran Labour MP Margaret Hodge have condemned John McDonnell’s remarks on the Grenfell tragedy, which he described as “murder” caused by “political decisions. Hodge said on the Daily Politics: “that is language of the hard left which is not done in my name”Still, good to rile up the nutters online.

Corbyn No Confidence Motion Tabled

The BBC reports Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey have tabled a no confidence motion in Jeremy Corbyn, which could be voted on on Tuesday night. The PLP might be able to topple him but how will they win round the membership? The problem with Blairites organising a putsch against Jez is they were the ones out of touch with Labour voters…

Aide’s Fury as Hodge Dodges Vote

Meet Liz Bradshaw. Liz is very upset with the Labour MPs who abstained on last night’s welfare vote. In fact, she is “asbsolutely disgusted”:

When she’s not sharing her passionate views on Facebook, what does Liz do? According to her LinkedIn, she works as a “parliamentary adviser” and “head of office” for Margaret Hodge:

That would be the same Margaret Hodge who abstained last night. Or, as Liz so eloquently put it, “allowed legislation to pass that will mean more children in this country go hungry… for purely political purposes“. Take it this “parliamentary adviser” will be doing the honourable thing and resigning?

BBC Dodge Hodge Tax Scandal

Guess where you won’t find the Margaret Hodge story? Yep, on the BBC’s controversial election website…

They normally love a good Hodge tax quote. Odd…

Hodge the Dodge’s Tax Hypocrisy Goes Box Office

Regular readers will be well aware that Guido has been banging on about Margaret Hodge’s shameless tax hypocrisy for years.

Back in 2012, he took a look at her 0.01% tax rate-paying family company, Stemcor. At the time she insisted her £1.5 million shareholding was “tiny, tiny, tiny” and she succeeded in scaring off the dead tree press from reporting her arrangements. Hodge even threatened to sue anyone accusing her of tax avoidance. Yet no writ or letter before action came. 

Today’s Times splashes on the story:

“just under 96,000 Stemcor shares handed to Ms Hodge in 2011 came from [Liechtenstein], which is renowned for low tax rates. Three quarters of the shares in the family’s Liechtenstein trust had previously been held in Panama, which Ms Hodge described last month as “one of the most secretive jurisdictions” with “the least protection anywhere in the world against money laundering”. The veteran Labour MP was accused of sheer hypocrisy. She has repeatedly attacked big businesses and bankers who used offshore arrangements, but has not declared that she benefited from an offshore trust.”

Busted…

I Wouldn’t Take Money From PWC Says Ex-Employee Hodge + Hodge Family Firm Stemcor Employs PWC+ Admits She Still Receives Pension From Her Time There

Worth listening to the end of Margaret Hodge’s interview on the World at One as she is politely reminded of her massive hypocrisy when it comes to Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Hodge began by slamming Labour’s Shadow Cabinet – including Ed BallChuka Umunna and Rachel Reeves- for employing PWC staffers, before being told that her company Stemcor also uses PWC, that she used be a senior consultant for the firm herself and still receives a pension from them:

By the end even she was laughing at her own hypocrisy…

UPDATE:

Hodge Confesses: "I Made a Mistake"

Margaret Hodge has spoken about her car smash this morning:

“This morning driving into work in busy traffic I made a mistake and collided with a man driving a motorcycle. I immediately asked a passerby by to ring an ambulance… Fortunately, the driver was fine and the motorcycle suffered minimal damage.”

Playing it down as a tiny, tiny accident…

Via @elashton.

Margaret Hedge: Lady Hodge's Unkempt Garden

Margaret Hodge’s constituents have been driven Barking mad by eyesore gardens, so they will have been delighted to see their MP launch a new campaign clamping down on anti-social mess. Hodge wrote in the Barking and Dagenham Post recently:

“It is extremely frustrating the minority spoil the environment for others. I became an MP to create a fairer society and improve the borough for residents. That is why I have kick-started my cleaner streets campaign. We have to work together as a community to tackle this problem and restore pride in our streets. If you see an area that needs to be cleaned, report it straight away to the council online or by phone. They have a special eyesore gardens programme to tackle unruly gardens. We have some real things to celebrate in the borough and I want to make sure that every resident in Barking and Dagenham can be proud of our streets.”

Guido would never be so presumptuous as to suggest that Margaret Hodge might tell someone to do one thing and then herself practice the opposite, so we present these photos of her constituency office without comment:

A local resident complains:

“I regularly walk past Ms Hodge‘s constituency office in North Street. The front garden is an absolute disgrace and is attracting foxes. Clearly they have mistaken it for some sort of nature reserve, and who can blame them?”

Perhaps she should take some gardening leave?

Bigmouth Strikes Again: Classic Hodge PwC Dodge

Question-dodging Margaret Hodge chaired a panel discussion in parliament this morning on tax transparency, wasting no time in piling into the ‘Big Four’ professional services companies for failing to use “copper bottom schemes” to prevent tax avoidance. Awkward then, that sitting two seats along from Hodge the Dodge on the panel is Shadow Exchequer Secretary Shabana Mahmood, who has just hired a new technical support analyst paid for by Big Four firm PriceWaterhouse Coopers. Indeed, a grand total of three Labour Shadow Treasury ministers have just brought in PwC staffers, paid for by the company, to help them with the Finance Bill. Not to mention Ed Balls, Chuka Umunna and a host of other Shadow ministers hiring from PwC in the past. The same Pricewaterhouse, of course, that Hodge herself used to work for. She really isn’t very good at this whole tax-y moralise-y thing, is she…

Quote of the Day

Margaret Hodge offers what could be the beginnings of a confession at today’s Tax Transparency Debate in the House of Commons:

“I don’t understand tax. Hiding behind my lack of understanding is not good enough.”

Margaret Hodge’s Double Standards on Abuse

It wouldn’t be a row without an unprompted contribution from Margaret, Lady Hodge, rent-a-quote extraordinaire. Today’s Morning Star reports:

‘Senior Labour MP Margaret Hodge condemned the “veil of secrecy” that has shrouded the Establishment for far too long. “Now the Establishment who thought they were always protected find actually they are subject to the same rigours of the law and that’s right”’

Could that be the very same Margaret  Hodge who was forced to apologise for branding a sex abuse victim as ‘extremely disturbed’, and was accused of failing to act on child abuse claims as leader of Islington Council. As the BBC points out:

“Mrs Hodge led Islington Council from 1982 to 1992, when it emerged that children in the council’s care had been abused. She has been accused of failing to act, despite receiving warnings – an allegation she denies”

A veil of secrecy…

Hodge in Hypocrisy Shocker

The Department for Education are putting about a classic case of Margaret Hodge double standards this morning. Hodge has been spinning hard following today’s National Audit Office report on free schools, which it said had “achieved clear progress”. Hectoring Hodge bleats that “The Department has got to be much more rigorous about how it assesses applications for free schools and prioritises need and value for money”. For some reason she isn’t quite so negative when the free school in question is in her own constituency. 

In April last year Hodge was telling local voters that, actually, she thought the government should go even further on free schools – wait for it – asking for an extra £25 million to fund a new free school in her constituency. She explained her strong support for free schools by saying “the children of the borough deserve the best possible education”. So Margaret Hodge really doesn’t like free schools, especially the cost, unless they are in her own constituency that is…

UPDATE: All kicking off between Hodge and Liz Truss. Hodge accuses Truss of “deliberate misrepresentation”, while a spokesperson for Truss hits back:

“Margaret Hodge’s comments on school places in Barking are misleading. The DfE is providing Barking with £140 million for new school places in all types of schools, not just free schools and academies. This is more than double the amount given by the previous government and is separate to the £25 million free school Margaret Hodge campaigned for in her constituency. The truth is she has been found out saying one thing to her constituents and another to the rest of the country.”

Margaret Hodge and Streamlined Benefit Payments

Another day and another chance for Margaret Hodge to enjoy some prime-time grilling at the Public Accounts Committee. Today it is the turn of DWP Permanent Secretary Robert Devereux, who is set to be hauled over the coals over Universal Credit. Deveraux’s career rests on whether he can explain why he signed off £34 million on abandoned IT systems and disprove allegations that he oversaw a culture of secrecy at his department that stopped civil servants giving politicians the whole picture. Fingers are being pointed at the mandarin, though Labour are adamant that IDS should be blamed instead. 

Hodge would be wise to remember that her party had problems of their own in government when it comes to benefit reform. In 2006 they cancelled a similar plan to streamline payments through the Benefits Processing Replacement Programme, but only after they had spent £140 million on IT for this “key strategic initiative”. They later had to admit they had somehow managed to spend another £10 million on it after the programme had been cancelled. So who was the Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform at the time? Step forward Margaret Hodge.

Hodge Blames Gordon For Vodafone Tax Dodge

Margaret Hodge isn’t wasting any opportunity to bleat about the £84 billion Vodafone/Verizon deal today:

“We must demand reassurance that HMRC has thoroughly examined this proposition to ensure British taxpayers get their rightful share of this massive profit. If there’s a flaw in legislation it has to be urgently addressed by Treasury ministers. I don’t understand how anyone can justify such a massive windfall without handing a fair share to the Exchequer. If this is an instance in which Vodafone has simply played the system then clearly they themselves have an obligation to UK consumers, on whom they depend for their business, to do the right thing.”

Flaws in legislation, you say? Well the two companies are exploiting the so-called “Substantial Shareholder Exemption” loophole to legally dodge the tax, the very same loophole used by Guardian Media Group when it sold Autotrader. SSE is a corporation tax exemption for businesses disposing of a substantial shareholding in a part of their business. The idea is that businesses should be able to restructure their businesses without having to worry about chargeable gains implications. And who was it introduced by? One Gordon Brown…

UPDATE: That “flawed tax law” Hodge is complaining about? She voted for it.

UKIP Call on HMRC to Investigate Hodge the Dodge

UKIP economic spokesman Godfrey Bloom has gone after Margaret Hodge, demanding that HMRC “investigate unanswered questions from C4 News, Sky News and Guido Fawkes about her ‘knowledge’ of the tax affairs of her family trust”:

“It beggars belief that Hodge stated that her family company paid ‘every penny’ of the tax it owed although later she admitted that did not know how much tax it actually paid. Yet, this woman is chairman of the House of Commons Public Affairs Committee. Hodge comes in at No 15 on the Times’ Politicians Rich List, with a mere £18m tied up on the family business, which is in a family trust so there is no inheritance tax to pay.  One rule them and one for the rest of the plebs?  I call on HMRC to investigate.”

Always one to help expose tax hypocrisy, here are a few questions HMRC should ask:

  • Why Hodge claimed that “I am a tiny, tiny, tiny shareholder” in Stemcor when her direct shareholding is worth £1.8 million.
  • Why Hodge holds several million pounds more worth of Stemcor shareholdings in trusts.
  • For what purpose Hodge holds these shareholdings in trusts other than to reduce the risk of a future tax liability.

As Hodge the Dodge said herself last week, “I think what we are going to have to do is order somebody to come who can give us answers to the questions…”

Hodge the Dodge: Spot the Difference

Compare and contrast Margaret Hodge’s holier-than-thou hectoring for not answering questions with her own non-answers in her Kay Burley interview yesterday. Here is Hodge berating Amazon’s Andrew Cecil at the Public Accounts Committee:

“Well, I think what we are going to have to do is order somebody to come who can give us answers to the questions we ask.

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