LATEST: Suspended Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins has “absolutely and categorically” denied allegations of inappropriate conduct made by party activist Ava Etemadzadeh.
Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins has been suspended from the party ahead of allegations of sexual harassment emerging in a national newspaper.
The Telegraph revealed the veteran MP for Luton North and former membet of Jeremy Corbyn’s frontbench has been accused of sending “inappropriate” text messages and rubbing himself up against a young woman after a political event.
Hopkins did not respond to the allegations when approached by the newspaper, it said. The claims made by Ava Etemadzadeh, who is now 27, go back to 2013.
The newspaper suggests the claims were raised with the Labour whips’ office and Jeremy Corbyn’s office in December 2015 and January last year.
The BBC said the backbencher was asked to be shadow culture secretary in June 2016 - after the complaints were made against him. It was handled internally and the MP was reprimanded at the time, the report said.
Ahead of the story’s publication, the Labour Party announced it had withdrawn the party whip from the 76-year-old MP.
It comes as Westminster is engulfed by the fall-out from the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal, which yesterday saw Defence Secretary Michael Fallon quit.
A Labour spokesperson said: “On the basis of allegations received by the Labour Party today, Kelvin Hopkins has been suspended from party membership, and therefore the Labour whip, while an investigation takes place.
“The Labour Party takes all such complaints extremely seriously and has robust procedures in place to deal with them.”
Labour MP Jess Phillips told The Today Programme Hopkins’ promotion after the allegation was “probably more cock up than conspiracy”.
She said she believed the complaint had been handled properly by the whips at the time but reiterated her suggestion that an independent
Earlier this week, Sir Michael apologised over an incident 15 years ago in which he made unwanted advances to the journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer, placing his hand on her knee.
HuffPost UK understands Sir Michael quit because he couldn’t guarantee there would not be another story about contact with a female journalist.
The current scandal embroiling Westminster stems from the multiple allegations against Harvey Weintsein that began to emerge last month.
More than 30 women have come forward to accuse the movie mogul of varying degrees of sexual assault, harassment and rape, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Rose McGowan and Cara Delevingne.
Since then similar accusations have been made of prominent figures in a number of industries, including politics.
Labour MP Jared O’Mara was suspended from the Labour Party last week after he was revealed to have posted homophobic and sexist comments online.
Earlier this week, a former aide to Labour MP Liz Kendall, Bex Bailey, revealed that she was raped during a party event - but was discouraged from reporting the assault.