Kelvin Hopkins ‘very surprised’ to get shadow cabinet callup

Mr Hopkins has been Luton North MP since 1997

Mr Hopkins has been Luton North MP since 1997

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Luton North MP Kelvin Hopkins has admitted that he was ‘very surprised’ to get the chance to join Labour’s new look shadow cabinet.

Following dozens of front bench resignations over the weekend, Jeremy Corbyn turned to Mr Hopkins to fill the slot for Shadow Secretary of Culture, Media and Sport on Tuesday.

Mr Hopkins joins the shadow cabinet as a leadership challenge is mounted against Jeremy Corbyn

Mr Hopkins joins the shadow cabinet as a leadership challenge is mounted against Jeremy Corbyn

Following his election as Labour leader last year Mr Corbyn held discussions with Mr Hopkins over a front bench role, but the MP for Luton North opted to remain on the backbenches as he had “lots of irons in many fires”.

After campaigning for the UK to leave the European Union, Mr Hopkins has now decided to take his first shadow cabinet position.

He told the Herald & Post: “I was very surprised and naturally very pleased to be invited to join the Shadow Cabinet on Tuesday.

“I was doubly pleased to be appointed as Shadow Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, which very much reflects my personal interests in the arts and sport.

“As a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups for Jazz Appreciation, Opera, Classical Music, Writers, the BBC, and others as well as being a former musician myself, I hope I have something to offer in the post.”

Mr Hopkins was one of just 35 MPs who helped Mr Corbyn scrape onto the leadership ballot in June 2015.

In March a leaked list which ranked MPs by their loyalty to Mr Corbyn showed that Mr Hopkins is thought to be one of his closest allies.

The spreadsheet, which was uncovered by The Times, listed the Luton North MP in the ‘core group’ of Mr Corbyn’s backers, alongside Diane Abbott, Dennis Skinner and John McDonnell.

Luton South MP Gavin Shuker was considered to be ‘neutral but not hostile’.