News that Luton North MP Kelvin Hopkins was suspended by the Labour Party over allegations of bad behaviour was greeted with shock in his constituency.
In a story published by the Telegraph yesterday, it is alleged that Mr Hopkins, 76, had inappropriate contact with 27-year-old activist Ava Etemadzadeh.
Mr Hopkins’ office was unavailable for comment today but members of his constituency have rallied to his defence on social media.
Sharon Moore posted: “Kelvin Hopkins is a gentleman and has done a great deal for our town. He also works tirelessly for contaminated NHS blood victims issues.”
Jo Merry added: “He’s the only one that’s ever done any good for our town and didn’t swindle his expenses!”
In a BBC interview, Ava Etemadzaheh said she met Mr Hopkins when he addressed a Labour meeting at Essex University in 2013 when she was 24.
She claimed Mr Hopkins “hugged me very tightly and rocked himself against me which made me feel uncomfortable.”
During a second meeting in Parliament, she says he told her “let’s not talk about politics, do you have a boyfriend?”
She also claims he told her that if nobody was in his office he would take her there. “He made me feel very uncomfortable,” she said.
After this, she complained to the Labour Party. “They refused to act and that made me feel very powerless, isolated and alone,” she said.
Kelvin Hopkins has served as MP for Luton North since 1997 and was notably one of the 35 MPs who nominated Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership – leading to his landslide win in September 2015.
Mr Hopkins is also noted as one of the MPs who emerged well during the 2009 MPs expenses scandal. This was in contrast to then-Luton South MP Margaret Moran, who was later convicted of falsely claiming expenses.
Conservative councillor for Caddington, Cllr Richard Stay also took to Twitter. He said: “I have known Kelvin Hopkins for 20 years – other than Brexit, we don’t agree on much politically, but he is patently a decent man. #worldgonemad.”