At an event last week hosted by Progress, the Blairite think tank, Hodge was asked if she agreed with a panellist who dismissed tactical voting and said all members should vote Labour in the upcoming contest.
A leaked tape reveals the 74-year-old Barking MP responded:“No, I don’t.”
She said: “I think taking whatever action you need, within your locality, that gives you the best likelihood of electing somebody who will be a pro-European MEP, I think is the way you should go, I really do.”
Hodge added: “I know that’s controversial but sometimes we allow the tribalism of politics to override the values and judgement we need to take on particular issues.”
Labour rules state that any member who supports someone standing against a party candidate must be expelled.
Speaking to Labour members in central London, Hodge also revealed that she had voted for the Liberal Party in the past. She said: “The very first time I voted I was living in Orpington . . . my very first vote was for the Liberals. I saw that as the best way for keeping the Tories out. So no, I don’t agree with that [unconditionally voting for Labour].”
Hodge also said: “We are a policy-free zone. Nobody talks about policies nowadays — it’s absolutely crazy. “Instead of that we’re stuck with these out-of-date, old-fashioned, traditional policies of the 1970s that don’t talk to anyone.”
When approached for comment, Hodge distanced herself from the comments. She said: “I probably misspoke then,” adding: “What I was trying to say was . . . in trying to understand why Labour party support is collapsing, which it is, I can understand why people are voting tactically. But I would never advocate voting against the party.”
A Labour spokesman said: “Support for Labour candidates is a non-negotiable part of being a party member. We expect more of our MPs and our members deserve better.”