Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins was suspended from the party on 2 November [Image: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images].

Jeremy Corbyn has defended promoting Kelvin Hopkins to his shadow cabinet after the Labour MP had been reprimanded over claims of inappropriate behaviour, saying that as far as he knew, “the case had been closed”.

With a series of allegations faced by some Labour MPs, as well as a number of Conservatives, Corbyn has been under pressure to explain why he made Hopkins shadow culture secretary in 2016 after complaints from a party activist.

Hopkins, who is no longer in the shadow cabinet, was appointed amid a wave of changes caused by frontbenchers resigning in protest at Corbyn. The Labour leader said on Sunday he knew about the allegations, but believed it was over.

“Yes, I was aware that he had been reprimanded and I was also made aware that that was the end of the matter,” Corbyn said. “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: “I made a decision to put him into the shadow cabinet for a short time and I thought that was the right thing to do. And now the case has been reopened and it will be looked at again.

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

In a statement after he was suspended, Hopkins said he “absolutely and categorically” denied he acted in an inappropriate way. He said: “I simply put an arm around her shoulder to give her a brief, slight hug just before getting into my car.

“I did not hold her tight. I did not rub any part of my body against Ava. She waved me off as I drove away and did not say anything whatsoever to suggest that anything had occurred that upset her, let alone revolted her.”

Source: Corbyn defends promotion of MP accused of inappropriate behaviour | World news | The Guardian


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