Labour vet­eran ‘sent un­wanted love notes to MP for over 20 years’

Kerry Mccarthy speaks out to sup­port a young party ac­tivist who also re­ported ‘in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour’

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Vic­to­ria Ward and Laura Hughes

KELVIN HOP­KINS, the Labour MP sus­pended fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual ha­rass­ment, sent a younger fe­male col­league un­so­licited love let­ters, ac­cord­ing to new claims.

The 76-year-old, a for­mer shadow min­is­ter, sent Labour’s Kerry Mccarthy let­ters and cards com­ment­ing on her “very pretty” and “at­trac­tive” ap­pear­ance in a cam­paign of un­wanted at­ten­tion span­ning 20 years.

Ms Mccarthy, who is 24-years his ju­nior, said she felt com­pelled to speak out fol­low­ing a Daily Tele­graph in­ves­ti­ga­tion which un­earthed al­le­ga­tions that he had sent “in­ap­pro­pri­ate” text mes­sages and rubbed him­self against Ava Etemadzadeh, a young party ac­tivist, af­ter a po­lit­i­cal event.

She told The Tele­graph: “I couldn’t leave Ava to fight this alone when el­e­ments of my story are so sim­i­lar.” Mr Hop­kins, who is mar­ried, re­leased a state­ment ad­dress­ing the new ac­cu­sa­tions be­fore they went pub­lic.

The Lu­ton North MP claimed they had caused “im­mense per­sonal hurt and ut­ter dis­may” and placed “un­bear­able stress” on him and his fam­ily.

Ms Mccarthy, 52, a for­mer shadow en­vi­ron­ment sec­re­tary, is the first MP to make spe­cific claims of in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour since the West­min­ster scan­dal erupted.

She said she be­gan re­ceiv­ing un­so­licited at­ten­tion from Mr Hop­kins in the mid-1990s, when the pair were chairs of neigh­bour­ing con­stituency par­ties in Lu­ton, but the most re­cent in­ci­dent was less than two years ago.

She found his be­hav­iour “up­set­ting” but did not re­port it be­cause she did not feel she had any­where to turn.

How­ever, she spoke out to sup­port Ms Etemadzadeh, whose com­plaints to Nick Brown, the Chief Whip, with fresh de­tails fol­low­ing an ini­tial com­plaint over deal­ings with the MP in 2014 and 2015 led to his sus­pen­sion last week.

“I don’t be­lieve that I am the only one,” she added.

The Bris­tol East MP said that in 1994, when she was chair­man of Lu­ton North con­stituency Labour Party (CLP) and he chaired Lu­ton South CLP, he in­vited her out for lunch, os­ten­si­bly to dis­cuss po­lit­i­cal is­sues.

Shortly af­ter­wards, he sent her a card say­ing: “My only rea­son for ask­ing you out to lunch is be­cause you are at­trac­tive, in­tel­li­gent and charm­ing.”

He added “PS: best to dis­pose of this once read!”

Ms Mccarthy said: “That to me felt re­ally in­tru­sive.”

In a sec­ond note, Mr Hop­kins en­closed a pho­to­graph of Ms Mccarthy and de­scribed her as “pretty” be­fore again ask­ing her to dis­pose of it.

He also sent a post­card in an en­ve­lope, ask­ing whether her em­ployer spe­cialised in “pretty, petite brunettes”.

Ms Mccarthy said she went to an­other lunch with Mr Hop­kins be­cause she found it awk­ward to say no. He sent a card af­ter­wards sug­gest­ing it “would be nice to meet again”.

A note sent be­fore the 1997 gen­eral elec­tion said: “You know I think you are lovely ... but I never see enough of you ... af­ter May 1st per­haps ... K x”

The let­ters then stopped un­til her 50th birth­day, by which time Ms Mccarthy was an MP.

He sent two let­ters more re­cently on par­lia­men­tary notepa­per, one of which said: “I dreamt about you last night. A nice dream.” It went on: “Much time has passed but I do re­mem­ber ear­lier times … and you re­main a very at­trac­tive woman.” Ms Mccarthy said she be­lieved Mr Hop­kins knew his ac­tions were wrong.

Mr Hop­kins’s state­ment said: “I have known Kerry Mccarthy MP per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally since about 1993... She is a per­son of sub­stan­tial stand­ing on the na­tional stage and I counted her as a friend. If it is true that my par­lia­men­tary col­league and long time friend has made a com­plaint about me via the press, then I am deeply sad­dened by this. 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.”

Kerry Mccarthy, Labour MP for Bris­tol East, claims that the for­mer shadow min­is­ter, left, with Pat, his wife of 42 years, be­gan pay­ing her un­so­licited at­ten­tion in the 1990s, which con­tin­ued over 20 years and in­cluded send­ing her cards and ‘in­tru­sive’...

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