Margaret Hodge

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Margaret Hodge has been the Labour Party MP for Barking since 1994. She was chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee from 2010 to 2015.[1]

In the 2015 general election, Hodge retained her seat with a majority of 15,272. [2]

HSBC tax avoidance scandal

In February 2015 HSBC were embroiled in a tax avoidance scandal, where it was revealed the Swiss subsidiary of the bank were helping clients, including some of the richest men and women in Britain, to avoid tax laws. [3] Members of the HSBC board, including Douglas Flint and Stuart Gulliver and Rona Fairhead, have been questioned by the public accounts committee - of which Hodge is the chair.

In her interview, Fairhead insisted no evidence of tax avoidance at the Swiss bank had been brought to her attention during her ten years on the board of the bank. She placed the blame on tax avoiders, the Swiss bank's customer relationship managers and its in-country managers.

Hodge, has urged Fairhead to resign from her role as chair of the BBC Trust or to be sacked by the government.[4]

She said:

'I want to come to you, Ms Fairhead, and I’m going to say something. It’s a bit unpleasant to say, and I’m just saying it as a licence fee payer. Having watched your performance this afternoon I’ve got to say this to you, that either you knew... or you didn’t know. And in that case you are either incredibly naive or totally incompetent.
'I don’t think that the record that you have shown in your performance here as a guardian of HSBC gives me the confidence that you should be the guardian of the BBC licence fee payers’ money. I really do think that you should consider your position and you should think about resigning and if not, I think the government should sack you.'[5]

Allegations of bullying

After Hodge's allegations that Fairhead should resign or be sacked, senior Conservative MP Sir Alan Duncan accused Hodge of bringing parliament into disrepute by being 'abusive and bullying' toward senior HSBC executives when they appeared before her panel. Duncan called on Hodge to apologise for demanding Fairhead quit or be sacked as chair of the BBC Trust due to her role at HSBC.

Duncan also claimed Hodge made 'undoubtedly libellous assertions' about the tax affairs of the bank’s chief executive Stuart Gulliver.[6]


  1. Rt Hon Margaret Hodge,, 24 August 2013.
  2. General election 2015: Barking and Dagenham results in full Barking and Dagenham Post, 8 May 2015, accessed 15 May 2015
  3. HSBC boss Stuart Gulliver apologises as tax avoidance row grows Guardian, 15 February 2015, accessed 12 March 2015
  4. Juliette Garside and Jane Martinson Rona Fairhead should lose BBC job over HSBC role, says influential MP Guadian, 9 March 2015, accessed 12 March 2015
  5. Matt Dathan BBC Trust chief Rona Fairhead should quit over HSBC job, Margaret Hodge tells Commons committee Independent, 10 March 2015, accessed 12 March 2015
  6. Rajeev Syal and Mark Sweney Margaret Hodge accused of 'abusive and bullying' attack on BBC Trust chair Guardian, 11 March 2015, accessed 12 March 2015