Kelvin Hopkins' wife defends suspended MP amid harassment claims

image copyrightSouth Beds News Agency
image captionKelvin Hopkins and his wife Patricia have two grown up children

The wife of an MP suspended by the Labour Party amid allegations of inappropriate behaviour said she "absolutely" believes his denial.

Kelvin Hopkins is accused of hugging a young party activist inappropriately and subsequently making offensive comments during a visit to Parliament.

The 76-year-old Luton North MP was suspended last week but denies claims of sexual harassment.

His wife Patricia said: "I'm upset for Kelvin but I believe him implicitly."

media captionJeremy Corbyn 'knew Kelvin Hopkins was reprimanded'

Mr Hopkins has been accused of inappropriate behaviour by 27-year-old Ava Etemadzadeh, who said she later received an over-familiar message from the MP.

Ms Etemadzadeh did not make a formal complaint at the time after being told she would have to waive her anonymity to do so.

But she reported the matter to an MP, who then informed the then chief whip Rosie Winterton, resulting in Mr Hopkins receiving a verbal reprimand in 2015.

Mr Hopkins categorically denies claims of harassment and said he had only "put an arm around" Ms Etemadzadeh at their first meeting and did not rub any part of his body against hers.

media captionWestminster has been rocked by a series of sexual harassment claims

The MP's wife, with whom he has two grown-up children, said: "He's devastated but he's refuted the allegations and he's looking forward to working with the investigation.

"I've been married to him for over 50 years and it's not going to change. We'll get through this."

On Sunday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn defended his decision to appoint Mr Hopkins to his shadow cabinet despite being aware he had been rebuked by the chief whip.

Mr Corbyn said he believed the case was "closed" and his promotion was "reasonable".

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