Rosie Winterton challenged Corbyn office over promotion of Kelvin Hopkins to Shadow Cabinet

Posted On: 
3rd November 2017

Jeremy Corbyn's office was warned by Labour's Chief Whip over his decision to promote Kelvin Hopkins to the Shadow Cabinet despite being reprimanded for sexual harassment.

Ava Etemadzadeh told the BBC she had been let down by Jeremy Corbyn's office.
Credit: 
BBC

Rosie Winterton flagged her concerns with the Labour leader following his decision to make Mr Hopkins the new Shadow Culture Secretary in June last year.

Ms Winterton had reprimanded the Luton North MP - who backed Mr Corbyn's leadership campaign - over allegations against him by party activist Ava Etemadzadeh in 2015.

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She accused Mr Hopkins of rubbing his crotch against her, and sending her a text message saying a "nice young man would be lucky to have you as a girlfriend and lover".

The veteran MP was suspended by Labour last night, just minutes before Ms Etemadzadeh's allegations broke on the Daily Telegraph's website.

A party spokesman said: "The Labour party takes all such complaints extremely seriously and has robust procedures in place to deal with them."

But in an interview with the BBC, Ms Etemadzadeh accused Mr Corbyn's office of "ignoring" her allegations, and said she was stunned by his promotion to the Labour front bench.

She said: "The Chief Whip informed the leader's office, and I also have evidence that the regional office in the east of England contacted the leader's office about this and it was ignored.

"I myself tweeted to Jeremy Corbyn about this incident during the cabinet reshuffle. I told him that he shouldn't demote Rosie Winterton because she stood by me when I reported an MP for misbehaviour.

"I'm very disillusioned because just a few months later I realised that Jeremy Corbyn promoted Kelvin Hopkins to the Shadow Cabinet despite the fact that the leader's office was aware of this and they refused to act and that made me feel very powerless and isolated and alone."

Text messages sent by 76-year-old Mr Hopkins to Ms Etemadzadeh, who is now 27, are said to include Mr Hopkins telling the activist she is “a lovely young woman" and "attractive” before adding that a “nice young man would be lucky to have you as a girlfriend and lover…Were I to be young”.

Recounting the alleged incident at the political event, she added: "He hugged me to say goodbye, held me too tight and rubbed his crotch on me, which I found revolting."

Labour MP Jess Phillips said: "I don't think I would have promoted him having known this had taken place."

Mr Hopkins has denied the allegations, and Mr Corbyn refused to comment when approached by reporters outside his home in North London.