In Brief

Westminster sex scandal: Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins suspended

Hopkins ‘absolutely and categorically’ denies claims of sexual harassment

Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins has been suspended over allegations of sexually harassment as party leader Jeremy Corbyn faces criticism of his handling of the claims.

Corbyn got caught up in the scandal after it emerged that he promoted Hopkins to the shadow cabinet “despite a young activist claiming the MP had sexually harassed her”, reports the Daily Mail.

The Sun says Hopkins, 76, allegedly “rubbed his crotch against a party worker, 24, and pestered her with texts”. The complaint was filed about three years ago, but according to Sky News, new information emerged yesterday that prompted the suspension.

The Daily Telegraph says that its journalists have seen text messages sent by the MP to Ava Etemadzadeh, now 27, in which he calls her “attractive” and says that a “nice young man would be lucky to have you as a girlfriend and lover… were I to be young”.

Hopkins “absolutely and categorically” denies claims of sexual harassment, the BBC reports. In a statement today, according to the BBC, the former shadow minister said: “I know how I roll. I don't squeeze women's buttocks... They're lying or they are wrong.” 

Hopkins said he did not hold his accuser tight or run any part of his body against her, adding that there was nothing to suggest that she was upset when they parted.

Labour said it was taking the accusations “extremely seriously”, but the suspension dragged the party further into the Westminster saga. 

Hopkins is the second Labour MP to be suspended, after Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O’Mara was accused of making misogynistic and homophobic comments online.

On Wednesday evening, Michael Fallon resigned as defence secretary, saying his behaviour had fallen short of expected standards. The Sun has since reported that Fallon told House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom that he had “a warm place for her cold hands”. Allies of the former defence secretary told The Guardian that he “fundamentally denied” making such a comment.

Trade Minister Mark Garnier also faces an official investigation after admitting he asked a former aide to buy him sex toys, while former Cabinet minister Stephen Crabb has apologised for sending explicit messages to a 19-year-old woman he interviewed for a job.

Theresa May’s deputy, Damian Green, is also being investigated over allegations about inappropriate behaviour towards a female journalist, which he denies.

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