Jeremy Corbyn defends decision to promote Kelvin Hopkins to Shadow Cabinet
Jeremy Corbyn has defended his decision to promote Kelvin Hopkins to his Shadow Cabinet despite his reprimand over allegations by a female Labour activist.
The Labour leader has been criticised for making the Luton North MP his Shadow Culture Secretary in June, 2016.
It has emerged that Mr Corbyn's office was aware that Mr Hopkins had been rebuked by Labour whips over claims he acted inappropriately towards Ava Etemadzadeh.
However, Mr Corbyn today said he believed the matter was "closed" when he decided to promote him, and insisted his fellow left-winger had made a good contribution during his three months on the Labour frontbench.
Mr Hopkins has denied rubbing his crotch against Ms Etemadzadeh in 2014and then sending her inappropriate text messages.
In one, he said: "A nice young man would be lucky to have you as a girlfriend and lover. I am sure one such is soon to be found. Were I to be young…but I am not. Always your friend, and if you ever need a friend you have my number…xxx."
The 27-year-old told the BBC: "The Chief Whip (Rosie Winterton) 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."
Ms Winterton also flagged her concerns with the Labour leade's office over Mr Hopkins' promotion from the backbenches.
But Mr 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... All I can say is I took a decision based on what I knew at the time and he made a good contribution to the Shadow Cabinet during the short time he was there."
The whole matter must now be "investigated and resolved," Mr Corbyn insisted.
"Now the case has been re-opened and it will be looked at again. He has been suspended from party membership, which is the decision I took immediately I heard about the later revelations."
In a statement on Friday, Mr Hopkins said: "I have always wished and still do wish, Ava the very best of luck in pursuing the career in politics that she wants to follow. I am happy to fully cooperate with the Labour party to bring to a swift conclusion the investigation that is now being carried out into my conduct."