Corbyn defends promoting MP Kelvin Hopkins despite reprimand

Corbyn defends promoting MP Kelvin Hopkins despite reprimand
From BBC - November 5, 2017

Jeremy Corbyn has defended his decision to appoint an MP to his shadow cabinet who had been reprimanded for allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

The Labour leader said he was aware Kelvin Hopkins had been rebuked by the party's chief whip in 2015 after concerns raised by a young activist.

But he said he thought the case had been "closed" and the promotion to his ministerial team was "reasonable".

Mr Hopkins was suspended last week but denies claims of sexual harassment.

The 76-year old MP has been accused by Ava Etemadzadeh of hugging her inappropriately after a student event in 2014 and subsequently making offensive comments during a visit to Parliament.

The 27-year-old activist, who said she later received an over-familiar message from the MP, 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.

Labour's handling of the case has come in for criticism after it emerged that Ms Winterton expressed her reservations to the leadership about Mr Hopkins' appointment as shadow culture secretary in July 2016.

Although he only served in the position for three months, at a time when Mr Corbyn was struggling to rebuild his frontbench after a mass walkout over his leadership, several MPs have suggested the move was a mistake.


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