A former Labour MP has left the party before a probe into sexual harassment allegations against him were able to be concluded, the party has confirmed.
Kelvin Hopkins was accused in 2017 of inappropriate physical contact and was suspended by the Labour Party, pending an investigation.
The ex-Luton North MP continued to sit as an Independent until the general election last year when he opted to stand down from the House of Commons after a 22-year career.
The prominent Eurosceptic cited his wife’s health as the reason for standing down and has denied the allegations against him.
A party spokesman said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of sexual harassment extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.
“We are disappointed that the party’s disciplinary processes did not reach a conclusion due to Kelvin Hopkins’ decision to resign his membership.
“We are establishing an independent process to investigate complaints, including sexual harassment, to ensure complainants can feel confident that in coming forward they will be heard and get the justice they deserve.”
Labour activist Ava Etemadzadeh, who accused Mr Hopkins of inappropriate physical contact, tweeted on Friday: “Yesterday, I learnt that former Labour MP, Kelvin Hopkins, had resigned from the Labour Party two weeks before the hearing was meant to reconvene (first hearing was in August 2019).
Yesterday, I learnt that former Labour MP, Kelvin Hopkins had resigned from the Labour Party 2 weeks before the hearing was meant to reconvene (first hearing was in August 2019). This is very disappointing news. I hope @Keir_Starmer listens to my concerns & fix this broken system https://t.co/0bDjCIj0KO
— Ava Etemadzadeh (@Ava_Etemadzadeh) January 8, 2021
“This is very disappointing news. I hope (Labour leader, Sir) Keir Starmer listens to my concerns and fixes this broken system.”
Following a chance meeting with Ms Etemadzadeh, Labour Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy came forward to announce that she had faced unwanted attention from Mr Hopkins over a period of two decades.
The shadow minister for green transport said in November 2017 that Mr Hopkins sent her a series of letters and cards, dating back to 1996, commenting on her appearance, including one in which he described having a dream about her.
Speaking in 2017, Ms McCarthy said she believed Mr Hopkins 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,” she said.
“I absolutely believe he knew this behaviour was unacceptable. It made me feel uncomfortable in his presence and was quite upsetting.”