Kelvin Hopkins

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Kelvin Hopkins
Official Parliamentary Portrait - Kelvin Hopkins MP.jpg
Official parliamentary portrait, June 2017
Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
In office
28 June 2016 – 7 October 2016
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded by Maria Eagle
Succeeded by Tom Watson
Member of Parliament
for Luton North
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by John Carlisle
Majority 14,364 (30.8%)
Personal details
Born (1941-08-22) 22 August 1941 (age 76)
Leicester, England, UK
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Patricia Langley
Alma mater University of Nottingham

Kelvin Peter Hopkins (born 22 August 1941) is an English Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Luton North since 1997.


Kelvin Hopkins was born in Leicester, son of physicist Harold Hopkins FRS. He was educated at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School for Boys, Barnet, North London; he then attended the University of Nottingham where he was awarded a BA degree in Politics, Economics and Mathematics with Statistics. Between 1958-1963 he was a "semi-professional" jazz musician, playing tenor saxophone and clarinet.[1]

With the exception of two years as a lecturer at St Albans College of Further Education (now called Oaklands College) from 1971-1973, he has worked entirely within the trade union movement. He joined the Trades Union Congress as an economist in 1969, and rejoined it in 1973 following his stint as a lecturer. He was appointed a policy and research officer with NALGO in 1977, leaving its successor UNISON in 1994.

Political career[edit]

Hopkins was a councillor on Luton Borough Council from 1972-1976. He was the Labour candidate for Luton North at the 1983 general election; where he finished in second place, 11,981 votes behind the sitting Conservative MP John Carlisle. Hopkins contested the seat again, fourteen years later at the 1997 general election; successfully gaining it from the Conservatives, with a majority of 9,626 votes and over half of the total votes and has remained as the MP there ever since. He made his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 28 November 1997.[2]

In Parliament, he was a member of the Broadcasting Select Committee from 1999-2001, and has served on the Public Administration Select Committee since 2002. He also served as an adviser to Richard Caborn on yachting when Caborn was Minister of Sport. He is a member of many all-party groups and is the Chairman of the group on further education and lifelong learning; he serves as the vice-chairman on the groups on jazz appreciation; historic vehicles; Norway; constitution and citizenship; transport infrastructure and trans-European networks; he also serves as the treasurer to the group on building societies and financial mutuals. He is on the left-wing of the Labour Party, being a member of the Socialist Campaign Group[citation needed] and is a Eurosceptic.[3] Hopkins is known for his rebellious stance amongst Labour MPs, described as a "rebellion prone left-wing economist" by Andrew Roth of The Guardian.[4]

In the fiscal year of 2007–08, Hopkins' total expenses claims amounted to £121,809, of which his second home allowance was £1,242.[5] He also emerged well from the 2009 MPs expenses scandal, being deemed a "saint" by The Daily Telegraph for his minimal second home claims.[6]
In June 2010, he was selected as a Labour member of the Transport Select Committee.[7]

Before the 2016 referendum on British membership of the EU, Hopkins signed the People's Pledge, a cross-party campaign for such a referendum, and became a member of its Advisory Council.[8] He was one of sixteen signatories of an open letter to the-then Labour leader Ed Miliband in January 2015, which called on the party to commit to oppose further austerity, take rail franchises back into public ownership and strengthen collective bargaining arrangements.[9]

He is a supporter of homoeopathy, having signed an Early Day Motion in support of its continued funding by the National Health Service.[10]

Hopkins was one of 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election of 2015.[11] In 2016, he was one of the chief Labour figures to support the "Leave" campaign in the UK Referendum on EU membership.[12][13] After turning down the offer of a frontbench position when Jeremy Corbyn became leader, Hopkins was "called up" to serve in the Shadow Cabinet following a spate of resignations at the end of June 2016.[14] He was able to return to the backbenches following Corbyn's re-election as party leader and the formation of a new Shadow Cabinet in October.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Hopkins married Patricia Mabel Langley on 21 August 1965 in Barnet; they have a son and a daughter. A French speaker, he is a keen photographer and saxophonist and enjoys sailing on the Norfolk Broads. He is an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association, as well as a vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group.[16] Since 1993 he has been a governor of Luton Sixth Form College. He has lived in Luton since November 1969.[1] He commutes to Westminster by train, using Thameslink.


  • The Economy: A NALGO Review" by Kelvin Hopkins, 1991


  1. ^ a b Kelvin Hopkins, Bio
  2. ^ Hansard, 28 November 1997 Column 1251
  3. ^ Dathan, Matt (28 September 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn warned much of his agenda will not be achievable if Britain stays in the EU". The Independent. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  4. ^ "Kelvin Hopkins: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "2009 MP Expenses for Kelvin Hopkins, MP for Luton North". BBC News. 19 April 2009. 
  6. ^ "MPs' expenses: The saints (Part i)". Daily Telegraph. 20 June 2009. p. 47. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  7. ^ "New MPs elected to select committees". 24 June 2010. Retrieved 6 December 2010. 
  8. ^ A referendum on Britain staying in the EU is long overdue and now essential, writes Kelvin Hopkins Tribune Magazine 18 April 2011
  9. ^ Eaton, George (26 January 2015). "The Labour left demand a change of direction - why their intervention matters". New Statesman. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
  10. ^ Tredinnick, David (29 June 2010). "Early Day Motion No. 342 British Medical Association Motions on Homeopathy". 
  11. ^ "Who nominated who for the 2015 Labour leadership election?". Retrieved on 15 November 2015.
  12. ^ "Labour Leave – Half of PM’s EU negotiation team accepted "duty of loyalty" to EU". Labour Leave. Retrieved 24 February 2016. [dead link]
  13. ^ Kelvin Hopkins MP: The Socialist Case for Brexit - Cambridge Brexit Campaign. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2016 – via YouTube. 
  14. ^ Parris-Long, Adam (29 June 2016). "Kelvin Hopkins ‘very surprised’ to get shadow cabinet callup". Luton Today. Retrieved 10 October 2016. 
  15. ^ Edwards, Peter (7 October 2016). "Watson named shadow Culture Secretary as Corbyn completes reshuffle". Labour List. Retrieved 10 October 2016. 
  16. ^ "All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group". British Humanist Association. Archived from the original on 30 June 2009. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 

External links[edit]

News items[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Carlisle
Member of Parliament
for Luton North

Political offices
Preceded by
Maria Eagle
Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Succeeded by
Tom Watson