Fellow MP accuses Luton's Kelvin Hopkins of years of unwanted attention

A fellow Labour MP has come forward to say she has suffered unwanted attention from Luton MP Kelvin Hopkins spanning 20 years.

Kelvin Hopkins MP Credit: PA Wire

Former frontbencher, Kerry McCarthy, said the Luton North MP sent her a series of letters and cards commenting on her appearance, including one in which he described having a dream about her.

One of the notes Kerry McCarthy says she received Credit: PA Wire

Ms McCarthy, a former shadow environment secretary, is the first MP to make specific claims of inappropriate behaviour since the Westminster scandal erupted.

She says she found his behaviour "upsetting" but did not feel she had anywhere to turn to about it.

She said she had been reassured and encouraged by the response she received after raising it with chief whip Nick Brown last Friday and party leader Jeremy Corbyn's office on Monday.

Kerry McCarthy MP Credit: PA Wire

But in a statement, Mr Hopkins said Ms McCarthy's complaint had caused him "immense personal hurt and utter dismay" from someone he counted as a friend.

One of the notes Kerry McCarthy says she received Credit: PA Wire

"I cannot understand why a Parliamentarian of such experience and standing, who is also such a long term friend, would not have told me that she was unhappy with any aspect of our friendship rather than going straight to the national press. At a minimum I would have expected a Parliamentary colleague to raise any complaint through normal channels, allowing me due process and a fair chance to defend myself, if necessary."

– Kelvin Hopkins MP

Ms McCarthy said she believed Mr Hopkins, who, she says, urged her in two of the notes to "dispose" of them, knew his actions were wrong.

"I never responded in any way, I never gave him any encouragement in any way, I tried to keep my distance as much as possible, I absolutely believe he knew this behaviour was unacceptable. It made me feel uncomfortable in his presence and was quite upsetting."

– Kerry McCarthy MP
One of the notes Kerry McCarthy says she received Credit: PA Wire

She said she decided to go public after the "bravery" of a young activist, Ava Etemadzadeh, who complained last week about the behaviour of Mr Hopkins.

"If Kerry McCarthy MP raises a complaint with the Labour Party in the normal and fair way, I will of course fully cooperate with any investigation. However I do ask, on my behalf and on behalf of all other individuals and their families dealing with allegations, that these matters are dealt with by proper due process and not by unfair, humiliating one-sided trial by media. I am a 76-year old man and the stress this has caused me and my family is unbearable. All I ask for is proper due process and not to be convicted and vilified by the press before the details of the allegations are even investigated and put to me properly if they need to be."

– Kelvin Hopkins MP