Corbyn defends promotion for MP after reprimand for his behaviour

Kelvin Hopkins has since been suspended by Labour. Picture: Getty
Kelvin Hopkins has since been suspended by Labour. Picture: Getty
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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has defended appointing an MP to the shadow cabinet who he knew had been reprimanded after claims of inappropriate behaviour.

Mr Corbyn made Kelvin Hopkins shadow culture secretary in 2016 after complaints about the Luton North MP had been made by activist Ava Etemadzadeh.

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.

Mr Hopkins was suspended from Labour last week and an investigation launched after it is understood Ms Etemadzadeh contacted the party again with fresh information.

The MP “categorically denies” any inappropriate conduct in relation to the activist.

Mr Corbyn said he believed the “case was closed” when he elevated Mr Hopkins to his top team.

He said: “I was aware that he had been reprimanded and I was also made aware that that was the end of the matter. He had been reprimanded, the case had been closed. I thought it was reasonable to appoint him, albeit for a very short time, to shadow cabinet.”

He added: “He has been suspended from party membership, which is a decision I took immediately I heard about the later revelations.”

Pressed on whether he would make the same decision to appoint Mr Hopkins to the front bench with hindsight, Mr Corbyn said: “I can’t discuss hindsight, all I can say is that I took a decision based on what I knew at the time and he made a good contribution to the shadow cabinet during the short time he was there.

“But it is now a matter to be investigated and be resolved.”

In a statement issued by his solicitors, Mr Hopkins denied claims he acted inappropriately towards Ms Etemadzadeh following a Labour student event.