Luton North MP Kelvin Hopkins to stand down

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Suspended Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins has announced he will not stand at the next election.

The Luton North MP, who is an Independent, was suspended by the party two years ago over claims of sexual harassment.

He denied the accusations and said the decision to retire had nothing to do with the claims, but his wife Patricia's ill health.

He said it will be a "wrench" to leave, but his wife "needs me at home".

His case was referred to the National Constitutional Committee, after Labour activist Ava Etemadzadeh, 27, told the BBC that Mr Hopkins had hugged her inappropriately after a student event in 2014.

'Very disappointing'

The politician, who was elected to the seat in 1997, said he asked for a hearing two years ago, and it is currently only half way through.

"It's been extremely frustrating and very disappointing it has taken this time," he said.

The 78-year-old said he was hoping to be "exonerated, have the suspension lifted, and to carry on being an active member of the Labour Party".

"This has been in my mind for some time now, my wife has been very ill during the last year, she needs me to be at home," he said.

He said he had "loved every minute" of being an MP and it had been a "great honour and privilege" to serve the people of Luton.

The Labour Party said it takes all complaints of sexual harassment "extremely seriously" and he continues to be subject to a disciplinary process.

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