Clive Lewis and Kelvin Hopkins deny harassment claims
Clive Lewis and Kelvin Hopkins deny harassment claims

Suspended Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins has “absolutely and categorically” denied allegations of inappropriate conduct.

Mr Hopkins, the former MP for Luton North, was suspended on Thursday after claims of sexual harassment were made by party activist Ava Etemadzadeh.

This comes as Labour MP Clive Lewis for Norwich South has denied an allegation that he groped a woman at the party’s annual conference.

Allegations emerged that Mr Hopkins sent suggestive texts to the young woman and behaved inappropriately.

Ms Etemadzadeh, 27, is understood to have complained, through an MP, to the whips’ office following contact with Mr Hopkins about three years ago.

She told the Telegraph the alleged incident took place after she invited the MP to speak at an event at Essex University in 2014 during her tenure as chairwoman of its Labour society.

She said she informed the whips office at the time of the incident, however, she was told the claim could not be taken forward because she chose to remain anonymous.

It is understood that the suspension arose after fresh allegations were made on Thursday.

In a statement issued by his solicitors, Mr Hopkins denied claims he acted inappropriately following a Labour student event.

The MP said: “I absolutely and categorically deny that I in any way engaged in any such inappropriate conduct. 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.”

Mr Hopkins claims that Ms Etemadzadeh sent him a text later that evening saying: “Thank you so much Kelvin for coming tonight!! We had a fantastic time. My members loved you! 🙂 You’re a star! x Ava”

In a full statement detailing his relationship with the party activist, Mr Hopkins admitted to sending her a text message that said Ava was “charming and sweet natured”.

In the message he said: “A nice young man would be lucky to have you as a girlfriend and lover…Were I to be young…but I am not…”

Mr Hopkins claimed she replied to his text on the same day and said: “Oh thank you Kelvin for such kind words. I was ill last week for a couple of days and also I had run for NUS delegate – they announced the results and I got elected with the highest number of votes!! So sorry if I couldn’t speak to you last week x”

The Labour MP added: “My only contact with Ava since then was about a year ago when she made contact with me to discuss working in Westminster.”

Mr Hopkins claimed he has “had no contact with Ava” since then, and said he was “shocked” by the allegations.

“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,” he said.

The claims are being investigated by Labour, which said it takes complaints “extremely seriously” and has “robust” systems in place to combat them.

The Labour Party is also investigating MP Clive Lewis after a formal complaint was made against the Norwich South MP.

Mr Lewis is alleged by the woman to have hugged her and given her backside “a big squeeze” at a conference event, it has been reported.

Mr Lewis told The Independent that he completely denies the allegation.

He said: “I wouldn’t do that to someone. It’s not what I do, it’s not my style, it’s not how I roll. I do not do that.

“They have made the allegation and I totally refute it. If someone hugs me, I hug them back. I would completely deny it.”

A party spokeswoman said: “The Labour Party is investigating a formal complaint made today against Clive Lewis.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire for promoting Mr Hopkins to the shadow cabinet last year after the allegations first surfaced.

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