Dame Margaret Eve Hodge, Lady Hodge DBE MP (born 8 September 1944) has served as Member of Parliament for Barking since 1994.
Hodge was created Minister for Children in 2003 before becoming Minister of State for Culture and Tourism in 2005. On 9 June 2010 she was elected Chairman of the influential Public Accounts Committee, in succession to Sir Edward Leigh MP.
Hodge was first elected as a Councillor for the London Borough of Islington in 1973. She soon became Chairman of the Housing Committee. This was an important post in a local authority which had one of the worst set of housing statistics in London during a period when London boroughs were required to be housing providers and managers. Hodge's tenure as Housing Chairman oversaw the continuation of a large new housing programme. There was a change of emphasis to the refurbishment of sound older buildings (e.g. Charteris Road, Alexander Road areas), in response to a paper published by the Islington Housing Action Group.
At one point, Hodge's Deputy Chairman was Jack Straw, who later became Foreign Secretary and also a key member of PM Tony Blair's government. The Islington Labour Party was badly affected by the defection of members and elected representatives to the Social Democratic Party. Hodge emerged as Council Leader in 1982, a post she held until 1992. Hodge was appointed MBE in 1978. However the end of her service on Islington council prior to her entering Parliament was marred by the emergence of serious child abuse allegations concerning Council-run children's homes in Islington. She apologised several times since the emergence of the scandal in the 80s that directly linked her council tenure with what she confessedly admitted was a "shameful disgrace".
Hodge has served as the Labour Member for Barking since the by-election on 9 June 1994 following the death of Jo Richardson. While still a new MP, she endorsed the candidature of Tony Blair, a former Islington neighbour, for the Labour Party leadership, after the sudden death of John Smith.
Hodge was appointed Junior Minister for Disabled People in 1998 and was promoted Minister for Universities in 2001, in which capacity she piloted the controversial Higher Education Act 2004, remaining in post until 2003 when she became the inaugural Children's Minister. She was sworn into the Privy Council on 22 June 2003.
Hodge was appointed Minister for Children when the post was created for her in 2003.
In 2005 Hodge was transferred to Minister of State in the Department for Work and Pensions with primary responsibility for Work.
Gordon Brown's ministerial appointments
On 27 June 2007, Hodge was reappointed Minister of State in the Department for Culture by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. As Minister of State for Culture, Creative Industries and Tourism, she was quick to criticise Britain's foremost classical music festival, The Proms, for not being sufficiently inclusive, instead praising popular television shows such as Coronation Street.
Following the Cabinet reshuffle of 3 October 2008, it was announced that Hodge was "temporarily leaving Government on compassionate grounds of family illness and will return to Government in the Spring". While she was absent from government, she was temporarily replaced as Minister of State by Barbara Follett. Hodge was reappointed Minister of State responsible for Culture and Tourism on 22 September 2009,