Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins denies sexual harassment claim

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Suspended Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins has said he “absolutely and categorically” denies claims of sexual harassment.

Labour activist Ava Etemadzadeh earlier told the BBC she had been left feeling “powerless” after the MP was promoted the year after her complaint.

She said he had sent her inappropriate text messages and made inappropriate physical contact while hugging her.

Meanwhile, Labour MP Clive Lewis has denied groping a woman at the party’s annual conference this year.

A Labour statement said the party was investigating a formal complaint made against Mr Lewis.

However, in a statement, the former shadow minister said: “I know how I roll. I don’t squeeze women’s buttocks… They’re lying or they’re wrong.”

The claims against Mr Lewis come after Luton North MP Mr Hopkins was suspended by the party on Thursday while an investigation took place.

Mr Hopkins did not initially respond to the allegations.

However, in a statement issued by his solicitors, the 76-year-old denied claims he had acted inappropriately after a student event in 2014.

He said: “I simply put an arm around her shoulder to give her a brief, slight hug just before getting in to my car.

“I did not hold her tight. I did not rub any part of my body, let alone my crotch, 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.”

Ms Etemadzadeh said she raised her concerns about Mr Hopkins’ conduct with another Labour MP and her complaint was passed to the party’s then chief whip Dame Rosie Winterton, who responded to it.

But Ms Etemadzadeh said she was told she would have to waive her anonymity for action to be taken and the prospect of this “scared” her.

It is understood Mr Hopkins was verbally reprimanded about his alleged behaviour.

He went on to be promoted, albeit briefly, to Labour’s front bench in June 2016 – shortly after leader Jeremy Corbyn faced mass resignations following the EU referendum.

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