Kelvin Hopkins Suspended From Labour After Receiving Complaint

Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins has been suspended from the party over allegations about his behaviour towards a young activist.

The former frontbencher has had the whip withdrawn while an investigation into claims he sent suggestive texts and acted inappropriately is carried out.

Ava Etemadzadeh, 27, initially complained to the whips office following contact with the MP around three years ago, according to the Telegraph.

Mr Hopkins is the latest MP to become caught up in a wave of allegations over sleaze in Westminster.

Sir Michael Fallon, who quit as Defence Secretary on Wednesday after admitting his behaviour had “fallen below the high standards required” in the role, was reportedly forced out after Cabinet colleague Andrea Leadsom passed a dossier of claims to Number 10.

Sources close to the Tory MP said he “fundamentally denied” claims he made a crude joke to the Commons leader while Mrs Leadsom’s team and Number 10 declined to comment.

Prime Minister Theresa May faced a backlash after appointing former chief whip Gavin Williamson, who has never held ministerial office, to replace Sir Michael.

Tory former defence minister Anna Soubry said: “It does rather look like he picked himself a plum job.”

Mrs May has called a meeting of all party leaders on Monday to agree a new system of dealing with abuse complaints in Parliament.

Mr Hopkins, 76, has been an MP for 20 years and has remained on the backbenches except for a four month stint as culture spokesman last year.

It is understood that Mr Hopkins was spoken to about why his behaviour was inappropriate and reprimanded by then chief whip Dame Rosie Winterton when Ms Etemadzadeh made her initial complaint after dealings with the MP in 2014 and 2015.

A complaint made to the leader’s office last year was based on the same information so no further action was taken.

Ms Etemadzadeh is understood to have given fresh information when she contacted the party about the allegations on Thursday.

On the left of the party, Mr Hopkins has a long history of involvement in the trade union movement and was one of the 36 MPs to nominate Mr Corbyn when he stood for the Labour leadership in 2015.

The Luton North MP employs his wife Patricia as a part-time constituency secretary.

A woman at his home – who said she was his wife – said the MP was at a meeting in Luton on Thursday evening.

Asked about the suspension, she said: “I don’t know anything about it.”

Labour said it takes complaints “extremely seriously” and has “robust” systems in place to deal with them.

A spokesman 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.”