Kelvin Hopkins meets with Corbyn team but opts to stay on back benches

Mr Hopkins met with Jeremy Corbyn's team
Mr Hopkins met with Jeremy Corbyn's team

Luton North MP Kelvin Hopkins will remain on the backbenches to build support for new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, we can confirm.

Mr Hopkins was one of just 35 MPs who helped Mr Corbyn scrape onto the ballot on June 17, before an overwhelming surge of support for the 200-1 outsider saw him take just under 60% of the vote on Saturday.

Jeremy Corbyn takes to the stage after he was announced as the Labour Party's new leader

Jeremy Corbyn takes to the stage after he was announced as the Labour Party's new leader

As a fellow senior member of the Labour left there had been speculation that Mr Corbyn might be inclined to make Mr Hopkins part of his new frontbench team, but the Luton North MP has opted to remain a backbencher.

Mr Hopkins would not confirm if he had been offered a role but told the Luton News: “I went to a meeting and had a discussion with (Mr Corbyn’s) team.

“Although it’s an honour it is not something I am seeking at this point as I have lots of irons in many fires and I want to continue pursuing those.

“I’m very active politically and if you are a front bencher you become quite restricted in what you can say within your brief.

Mr Hopkins has hailed Jeremy Corbyn's truimph as 'the end of Blairism'

Mr Hopkins has hailed Jeremy Corbyn's truimph as 'the end of Blairism'

“Jeremy will need support on the backbenches and I hope I can make a significant impact there.

“He will need to build bridges with all sorts of people, Labour is a broad church.”

When appealing for nominations three months ago Mr Corbyn indicated that he wanted to open the debate on the future of the Labour Party.

His crushing defeat of Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall has moved the party further away from the centre ground, a move welcomed by Mr Hopkins.

He said: “It’s the end of Blairism.

“It was touch and go to get Jeremy onto ballot but the immense amount of support from members, supporters and trade unions has been remarkable.

“Those who take a critical view have got to recognise that Jeremy won with a resounding majority of 60% and that the Blairite candidate got just 4.5% of the vote.

“I’m absolutely delighted with the result, it was quite breathtaking on Saturday.”